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A Psalm for the Sabbath

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 20, 2022 7:00 am

A Psalm for the Sabbath

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 20, 2022 7:00 am

Christians have many different views of how the Lord’s Day should be observed. Is Sunday the equivalent of the Old Testament Sabbath, or a day for celebration and worship? On The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice, we’ll be looking at Psalm 92, a Psalm of the Sabbath, to discover the Lord’s view on how we’re to observe this day that is set apart from all others.

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What is your Sunday like is it a treat or a trial, a burden or a delight. What does the Bible have to say about this day of the week. Set aside for corporate worship and reflection. Welcome to the Bible study the radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically sold 92. The only song that deals directly with the Sabbath gives us some clear direction as to what we should do and let the attitude of our heart should be on this day set aside for the Lord.

Let's join Dr. Boyce as he examines Psalm 92 and shows us our number one priority for this very special day.

Most reform circles and some others.

There's an ongoing debate about the right way to observe Sunday sometimes useful to acknowledge that there is ongoing debate in this or in some other area because keeps us humble to shows the reform people don't have everything together. Anyway, this particular division takes place between those who consider that someday should be observed, like the Jewish Sabbath with a set cessation of all work except what are called works of necessity like you have to have a policeman, fireman and things like that and that usually called the Puritan view because the Puritans were very strong about observing Sunday is the Sabbath and the other view is that it's chiefly at time worshiping God, but that doesn't exclude other kinds of useful activity and that usually called Continental view. Now I side with the Continental view on the grounds of what I find in the New Testament when I read about the first Lord's dancing to me. There was a lot of activity confined statements throughout the New Testament site, you shouldn't do this, you shouldn't do that to use that day in the wonderful and active way to serve God and serve others.

In my opinion, you might come out from this particular division about the right way to observe Sunday.

There should be little doubt in the minds of any Christian people that Sunday is a day rightly and wisely set apart to worship God is when our Psalm is about talking about the Sabbath. Of course, because the Sabbath. Saturday was the day the Jews worship God, but it does tell us that it is to worship God and that it's good to worship God as a little bit about how we should do it.

That's the first of a number of songs like this the only one in the software that is specifically designated for the Sabbath, but one of many.

From this point on the begin to talk about worship and how we really ought to worship God to I want to say at the start because this has to be practical in the form of a question. How do you approach Sunday you think of it as the day in which you have to go to church body in which you want to get the duties of church going over as quickly as possible so you can get on with doing other things are more enjoyable or do you think of it as a wonderful day that's been given to you by God out of the other days of the week in which you can learn about him and worship him. In other words I'm asking is this is Sunday a tree or trial is delight or a wearisome burden. Gary Kidner is one of the commentators on the Psalms that I often quote he did us lowball to little books for inter-varsity press and he says so at this point this song for the Sabbath is proof enough, if such were needed, that the Old Testament Sabbath was a day not only for harassment for corporate worship and intended to be a delight rather than a burden on the rabbis made it into a burden. Of course what Jesus opposed her error when he said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. My opinion Sunday should be a time for Thanksgiving and many kinds of joyful celebration doesn't mean we shouldn't praise God. Another days of the week as well. Them as a race were scribes work with the Old Testament text provided the bowel pointing of the Hebrew text had an interesting way of teaching this late started with Islam. Only one in the Psalter that is specified for a specific day but from that, they built a collection of songs that I had one for each day as a way of saying that is always right to praise God.

For example, on the first day of the week. That is Sunday. They chose Psalm 24 the second day Monday Psalm 48 Tuesday Psalm 82 Wednesday Psalm hundred and 14 Thursday Psalm 81 Friday Psalm 93 and Saturday Psalm 92. I think we have any obligation to follow that pattern that we wanted to do it. We could do it very well for Sunday, at least because we have a very good him that is based upon Psalm 92. It's a song by Isaac Watts going to use this Psalm to finish our service today. It's called how good it is to thank the Lord and it goes like this. How good it is the thank the Lord and praise to you, most high record to show your love with morning light until your faithfulness each night. A good it is your praise the setting of all our sweetest using bring one thing that Watts emphasizes that verse based on the Psalms that it's good Sunday to praise God both morning and night. Now it's not easy to outline the song when common way of outlining. It is according to what key aspect pattern that means is that the Psalm sort of reverses itself develops the theme of the end followed by a second theme. The third thing becomes the point in the middle. Then on the backside of that in reverse.

So if you are using letters to indicate the way it goes. It would be a BCD see the essay or something to that you look at the Psalm you see how it would work. The first in the seven stanzas have to do with praising God the second and the sixth with the works of God, for which is to be praised and then the third and the fifth with the failure of senseless men to praise him and right in the middle comes verse eight which stands apart all by itself. Sort of a little one line summary what the Psalm is all about. Well, it's one way of doing it. The new international version has four stanzas with that one were stands in the middle. I think probably the three part outline the Gary Kidner proposes in his commentary is the best place is very easy to follow. It's what I'm going to follow. It goes like this person. There is a call for tireless praise verse four versus I called it good to praise God and there's the silence of the senseless person doesn't know enough to praise God versus five through nine, and finally there's the vitality of praise in the sense Psalm and sonic look at it that way has a lot to teach us. Well, the first verse establishes the theme of the Psalm and it says it's good to praise God elaborated in verses one through four of the first verse is all it is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name all the most high, that I would ask a number of questions as we go throughout this and the first question I want to ask is this why is it good to praise God for a number of ways of answering that question we might reply that is good because God says it's good when we read is good to praise God we can hardly not think of the opening chapter of Genesis where God creates the heavens and the earth and at each stage of that creation. He makes a pronouncement upon it says is good, God created the heavens and the arts that is good created the light in the darkness as it is good, and created the land creatures on the land man and put them on the landing said good not something like that here might also be able to cite it's good for us as it benefits us were creatures made in the image of God is a good thing to have a day and seven set apart where we actually think of who God is and that we are made in his image and praise. And we ought to do that. It benefits us. Spurgeon had an interesting way of putting it.

He said that praise of God is good ethically because it's the Lord's right. It's good emotionally because it pleases the heart and it's good practically because it leads others to render God the same homage was good and all of those ways and yet you know when I think about that word good. It seems to me that it's a weak word in the context because we use the word good of almost anything and you were talking about the goodness of praising God has to be at a level that far exceeds anything we normally mean when we use the word from writers called the praise of God's salutary or delightful. Luther called it precious. He said on more than one occasion, let's sing a song and drive away the devil is the way Luther thought worshiping God as a glorious, splendid, delightful and very reasonable thing to do. That leads me to the second question the second question I want to ask is this dozen thought of praising God seem boring to you, at least if you have to spend more time at it than 60 minutes on the Sunday morning with us you want to recall that it is for this.

When human beings were created and know how that question of the Westminster shorter catechism goes the very first one.

If you never learned any of the questions of the catechism you at least I do know that when what is the chief end of man answers man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever glorifying God is worshiping God.

That's what you and I were created to do and noticed the enjoyment of God is important to because the two go together. In fact, our enjoyment of God is expressed in our praise of God. And when we praise God we do in fact worship them and enjoy them if you don't find the worship of God on Sunday or any other time to be enjoyable.

It's not because you know God and found that he is boring. Quite the opposite. The worship of God to be boring is because you don't know God more.

You know God more wonderful label same in the greater privilege and enjoyment. It will be to worship him as a pastor out of Minneapolis by the name of John Piper, who has written on this theme and is really very excellent on it is written a book called desiring God meditations the Christian hedonist first time I saw that I do like the title very much because of that were hedonist brought up all kinds of negative connotations, but that's not the way he's using it he's talking about the enjoyment that human beings who have come to know God through Jesus Christ have in the worship of him as a matter fact he takes questions in the Westminster shorter catechism makes it more or less.

The theme of what he says is a what's the chief end of man man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever and what Piper says is man's chief end is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. Sally puts the two together is what he says does Christian hedonism put man's pleasure above God's glory. Auto. It puts man's pleasure in God's glory request is not merely joy is joy in God and there is no way for a Christian to consciously manifest the infinite worth and beauty of God without delighting in him is better to say that we pursue our joy in God than to simply say that we pursue God for one can pursue God in ways that do not honor him enjoyment of God and the glorification of God are one psalmist would've understood that even if we don't sometimes very far from that Psalm is dead and sums it come from this point on, are going to express enjoyment of worship and very strong and very powerful language. It is good to praise the Lord and make music to his name is what he says now the question again, we understand that how good it is really to worship God is another question. What should we praise God for real Islam list two things. Lots of things are going to be listed as we go on many many things to praise God for the psalmist to number one. The steadfast love of God, because that's what that word love in verse two really mean work has sent in Hebrew and it's a steadfast covenantal love of God and then number two God's faithfulness now. Praise God or anything else.

Those two are enough to keep you busy because it's God's steadfast covenant love reaching out to redeem you, through Jesus Christ, with major Christian in the first place and is God's faithfulness that keeps you in the covenant relationship one looks back a moment of our conversion and the other the continuation of it.

We know both of those to the highest degree in Jesus Christ all right mascara number of questions amassed another one so insert here in the saw this question goes this way.

How should we praise God. Well, Psalm answers joyfully in verse four and with instruments in verse three as far as instruments goes and specifies to the instruments of that day 10 string liar in the heart later on were going to find that other instruments are mentioned hundred and 50 Islam was all the ones they know. I suppose they had guitars and electric keyboards and organs. I'm sure I would've been listed as well.

Now I talked about this division in the church about how your to worship on Sunday. Whether you work or not, or certain things are permitted or not permitted is a debate about that. There is also, as you may download debate about the use of instrumental music and Christian services. Old traditions will not use instrumental music" version favorably from time to time but Spurgeon's Congregationalist mass congregation in the City of London during his lifetime did not use instrumental music that were against it. So when you look through the quotations that Spurgeon includes in his great treasury of David when you come to Psalm 92 you find the quotations from the church fathers that are against the use of instrumental music from such notable giants of the church is John Calvin.

John Calvin said from this, it appears that the Pappas's like the Roman Catholics of that day in employing instrumental music cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God's ancient people as to 8-bit in the senseless and absurd manner exhibiting assembly delight in that worship of the Old Testament, which was figurative and terminated with the gospel of Gavin's point was that instrumental music was something that has been fulfilled in some Unspecified Way in Jesus Christ and to use instruments and somehow to regress to the Old Testament pattern. Spurgeon also quotes John Chrysostom instrumental music was only permitted to the Jews as sacrifice was for the heaviness and grossness of their souls are Sandra for instrumental music appears with increasing evidence to be utterly unsuited to the genius of the Gospel dispensation well maybe their opinion. I don't find it follows from the song or many other portion of the Scripture is matter of fact I find exactly the contrary, what I find in the Psalms is encouraged to use every possible means at our disposal to worship God. Now we know that there are dangers instrumental music and become your performance as the singing become your performance banging the drum can just be banging the drum can also be done in exuberant joy and praise to God say the way you handle these things is not by sight.

Well, this is allowed this is not allowed, but rather by focusing on whatever you do, whatever means at your disposal is used, to praise him while I said a lot about these first four verses that tell us who were to worship why it's good to worship God for, and how this next section of the Psalm, beginning with verse five introduces a contrast in the case of those who, unlike the psalmist do not know and do not praise God for characteristic of the Psalms to do that. Throw in a very sharp contrast. I call this the silence of the senseless because that's the word. The psalmist himself uses to describe them. He calls them senseless beasts or the senseless man because it really means. The brute man that is a person who has no more knowledge of God and therefore no more knowledge of who he actually is than an animal is what distinguishes human beings from animals. After all, human beings are aware of God.

Animals are not animals of life we have life, and the personalities of your personalities animals have emotions to some extent, as you well know animals don't worship God, human beings do so. If human beings are not worshiping God. What are they, they are senseless brutes there acting like animals Gary Kidner quote Samuel Johnson's comment on people who were like this.

And Johnson, the maker of the dictionary. There was a religious man.

He said you know it's sad stuff. It's brutish of the bull could speak. He might as well exclaim here I am with this column and this grass what being can enjoy better felicity and their people like that to say, wine, women and song. Another thought of God. We point out in a slightly higher note that this is the inference of Psalm eight which we've already studied in the series shall Psalm eight places beings in the mediating position in God's created order, the angels and God are above and the beast are below, but it says that we are made a little lower than the angels, rather than a little higher than the patient's way of saying that although we have mediating position. We are souls and spirits which are capable of worshiping God. We also have bodies which supply us to the animal creation is nevertheless our joy and opportunity as well as our privilege to look beyond ourselves and the angels the God in his image.

We are made and worship him. We won't do that as the unsaved did not.

And unfortunately, many Christian people seem to take them that way. Then we looked down and we become beastlike. Someone once said God made man a little lower than the angels and he been trying to get lower Everest ever since. Now sons of something else but only the people who fail to worship God or senseless sense of being brute like it also says that there wicked say that verses seven in mind though the wicked spring up like grass, and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed. For surely your enemies are bored surely your enemies will perish all evildoers will be scattered saying what he saying there is that the failure of the senseless to worship God is not just a physical failure is that he would be talking about somebody you can hear and say well they don't listen to the word of God can't, of course, we can't hear the same with the Scriptures to throw out there is indeed in the capability of fallen human creatures to know and worship God, but that is not free of moral overtones.

We are incapable of doing it because we will not do it because we have a sinful nature and are determined to go our own life were blind because we will not see the reason human beings vote no and praise God as they don't want to know, and I want to praise him actually hate him because what they actually want to be as God themselves live in a universe where we can't do it well.

We come to the end.

Last section, having made a contrast between himself and those who do not know and worship God having shown the destiny of the latter that is there going to perish.

Psalmist not picks up on the destiny of these wicked persons and makes a still further contrast between their destiny.

The destiny of the wicked and the end of the righteous versus 10 to 15 wicked are going to wither up like grass, the righteous will flourish like a palm tree and like a cedar of Lebanon and say little more about that, but first of all, before he dies. Notice that he gets a personal testimony God has blessed the psalmist in a specific way I doesn't want to forget that he doesn't want other people to be ignorant of it either. Have things for which we can praise God marry because our experiences are different in the psalmist is look, here's my experience you have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox flying oils have been poured over me. My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries my ears heard the route of my wicked phone that was my experience is I praise God for that. Now once rest of us to do it to. So it's on this encouraging note that he brings this composition to a close. He says three things about those who truly know and worship God number one they will flourish like a palm tree and grow strong like a cedar of Lebanon verses 12 and 13. I was full of Moses in the physical sense is not to be hundred and 20 years old and you recall that it was said of him, the end of his life that his eyes were not weak nor was his strength gone.

Unfortunately, that's not true of everyone physically. David very frail in his old age. As you know, and others have grown feeble as well with some of these verses are speaking about primarily their talking about what we would call being strong in the Lord, or strong spiritually always writing about when he said, although outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. Second Corinthians 416 is an internal spiritual strength that only those who have grown old walking with Jesus and trusting Jesus really know the world doesn't understand that young people don't understand very much either you grow old you begin to understand what that is spiritually inwardly internally flourish like the palm tree number two. They will be fruitful even into their own age. Not only will they personally be physically strong, will be fruitful to that which is what verse 14 says that is still testifying to the greatness and goodness of God and God will use these testimonies to bring others to faith in Jesus Christ were not more often caught up in the affairs of the world and it's hard to escape that we don't think too much sometimes witnessing for Jesus Christ as you grow older you get closer to that day when you're going to stand before him, and give an accounting of all the deeds that you've done in the flesh, then testifying to his greatness really matters were told here is that those who would live with Jesus a long time.

Do that and God blesses that he uses that testimony in old age. Number three. This testimony will remain firm to the very end of their lives.

Sometimes you get old you wonder why going to be able to hold the testimony strong to the very end of my mind grew feeble. My body begin to drag me down. Listen, the psalmist says the righteous will maintain a testimony to the very end proclaiming the Lord is upright, he is my rock and there's no wickedness in him prone another commentator says the flourishing of the workers of iniquity is been but for a moment the joy and prosperity of the righteous is forever. I get to that last verse in Psalms come full circle back praising God again, which is the point at which it started and so I want to combine those ideas now and ask final question, and it's this. If you cannot praise God on the Lord's day on Sunday. If you find it tedious and troublesome. How are you going to keep on doing it the old age do it, you better start learning now listen, Moses was, I was not dim, nor his natural force abated. Even though he lived to be hundred and 20 years old. Praise God in his old age finishing the last book of the Pentateuch with a song in a sermon running right at the end Jacob another one of the patriarchs also praise God in his old age. In fact, what he said in his old age is probably more significant and spiritual than anything said in his own life find it in Genesis 49 Joseph to gave a strong old age. Testimony spoke of God's sovereignty as brothers body was going to take revenge on them.

But he said you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. Genesis 5020 Paul wrote some of his most helpful epistles just before he died. Executed in Rome last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation was written on the island of Patmos by the apostle John when he was a very old man to be your experience and get all maintain strong joyful testimony in the Lord, are you going to become unhappy, miserable, critical waste of money. Old people do much of the answer that question depends on what you are doing well. How you are worshiping God. Now what is your testimony.

Now what is the pattern now that your building into your lives. Can you site with the righteous of the Lord do the end of Psalm 92, the Lord is upright is my rock and there's no wickedness in him and say now you and I can say later find joy in saying it now and find joy saying it later. I hope to be able to say that now and later because is a great need for that kind of strong testimony, although it's far from the kind of carping words I hear from you on a few Christians today.

They don't know God very well. They don't know how to praise. Probably they need some practice spray father were thankful for the song so practical about what is our chief in and in and in that most of us hardly ever consider and give very little time to know we have other things to do.

Father, we would pray that as we study the Psalm again trust we will as we go on these other Psalms and follow many of which had to do with praising you, worshiping you that you teach us something about worship and so transform us, we might become increasingly joyful Christians were able to say it's good to praise God for. Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaimed biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources. You can find messages and books from Dr. Boyce and other outstanding teachers and theologians, or ask for a free reformed resources catalog by calling 1-800-488-1888. Please take the time to write to us and share how the Bible study our has impacted you. We'd love to hear from you and pray for you.

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