You, beloved, as a Christian, you should look forward to old age with this expectation that God is going to enable me to glorify Him even as my body breaks down. Welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and we're about to conclude our series, Here You May Safely Dwell, with part two of Don's message, I Do Declare. Last time, Don began an in-depth look at Psalm 92. Earlier in the series, Psalm 90 focused on the transitory nature of life, while Psalm 91 brought a promise of God to inject meaning and protection into that temporary life of believers. Psalm 92 is a response of praise. Today, our teacher will finish up Psalm 92 and tie it all together. So have your Bible again open and ready, and let's join Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. Look at verse seven with me.
They don't understand, he says, that when the wicked sprout up like grass and all who did iniquity flourished, it was only that they might be destroyed forevermore. What he's doing here, remember, this is a psalm of praise to God. He is praising God now by contrasting the eternal mind of God with the mind of the fool, which is preoccupied with transient things. He said, God, you are great and planned out creation.
God, the fool is enamored with the things of this day. God, how great you are by contrast with the stupid foolish men around me. And what he's doing here is in praise, he is stepping, watch this, he is stepping outside the mindset of the world in which he lives. He is separating, he is rejecting the world, rejecting the mindset of the world and saying, God, I am praising you in contrast to what the world is like. I recognize you're in a completely different realm and I honor you for that.
I reject the environment like a fish rejecting the water in which he swims. I reject that, Lord, and I honor you and I extol you. And you see this in verse 8 when he says and gives the contrast, but you, O Lord, are on high forever. A couple of things about that verse. Notice how brief it is. Notice how brief it is.
Eight words in our English translation compared to the lengthy verses that preceded it. And there's a sort of a quick punch that with the brevity, it just delivers a punch that stuns you, that arrests your attention after developing the thoughts of the senseless man, the wicked man, and expanding on that, he says, but by contrast, O Lord, you're on high forever. The man in vanity perishes, but God is sovereign forever. He is the supreme judge.
One writer says this. He says this is the great pillar of the universe and of our faith. In the midst of whatever is happening in life, you can come back to this verse and find something that will quickly reorient you, but you, O Lord, are on high forever. God, as the wicked man flourishes, you're on high supreme over him.
As the wicked man perishes, you're on high and supreme over him. And that great contrast informs our praise. This helps us understand why we praise God like we do.
And it is this. And it is so necessary for us to remember because we tend to walk by sight and not by faith. What's this great contrast do for us? It informs our praise. It tells us that God will triumph over everything sinful that we see around us. Every time that the wicked man flourishes, we come back and remember that the Lord is on high forever. Every time that life changes, we realize that God reigns unchanging on. He is immutable. He is sovereign over it all.
He is unaffected by the changes that time bring to us. Look at verse 9 in light of that. He says, For behold, your enemies, O Lord. For behold, your enemies will perish.
All who do iniquity will be scattered. That behold, behold draws you in. It builds and stresses their doom and brings everything into sharper focus. It's like he's saying, look.
No, look. And now that he's grabbed your attention, he declares what it is that he wants you to see. God's enemies are going to perish. All who do iniquity will be scattered. The majesty of God, the greatness of God does a couple of things, does a lot of things. But God's majesty, his supremacy, his sovereignty guarantees, beloved, the end of his enemies. All of the enemies that rise up against God's people, the philosophies that rise up against the truth, those who have martyred faithful Christians, those who have opposed and persecuted and mocked and lied against the people of God, who have lied against Christ, who have mocked his name, those who do that in an unrepentant sense are guaranteed their doom is sure. And not only that, when we look beyond the human manifestation of these things and look at the invisible, satanic, demonic realm which fuels all of that as we fight battles in the heavenlies, this tells us and guarantees for us that the doom of Satan and the doom of all of his demons is certain it could be no other way. Satan rails against Christ, rails against his people in vain because the Lord is on high forever. In both the visible and the invisible realm, God's enemies are doomed. God's thoughts are very deep.
By contrast, men are senseless. And so, what does this praise do? What does true praise do? Well, one, it leads us into this praise that offers God our thanksgiving and our declarations in music and in worship. And what you see here in this second section is this, is that praise leads us away from the world to the glory of God. It leads us away from a preoccupation with the world. It lets us see through the prosperity of the wicked, to see the ultimate end of these things so that our mind and our affections are not drawn away from praise but are reinforced in praise all the more.
And so, let me ask you, let me ask you a question then. Do you see through the world, do you agree with this assessment of Scripture that all of the vanity that the world embraces is foolishness before God and is of no ultimate value? Have you seen through it enough to reject it? Or do you still love and find yourself attracted to it?
Approaching the question from a different way. Have you seen the surpassing value of Christ and given yourself to Him? Do you see that Christ, Christ is more valuable than anything in the world? He is the pearl of great price which is worth selling all that you have and giving all of yourself over that you might own Christ even if you lose everything else in the process.
Do you know Christ like that as the exclusive valuable object of your affections? That's where this leads us is to a praise that is given in the giving of ourselves. Well there's a third and final aspect of praise that we see in this psalm and it's the praise of testimony. The praise of testimony here in the final section of the psalm. The sweep of the psalm into music and into a rejection of the world and then a personal testimony of faith is just a magnificent poetic achievement by the writer of this psalm.
So he shifts from the transcendent to the personal as he begins in verse 10. He says, but you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox. I have been anointed with fresh oil and my eye has looked exultantly upon my foes. My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me. Now as you're reading through this psalm, the sudden introduction of all of the personal pronouns is rather striking.
Look at it with me. You've exalted my horn. I have been anointed with fresh oil. My eye has looked exultantly upon my foes. My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me.
He's changed the focus. Now he's still praising God but he's making it all personal. This personal dynamic lends to the praise here.
The horn was a symbol of strength. The oil of verse 10 pictures God's care and his provision for him. God, you have made me strong with your care and your protection upon me. With all that you've provided for me, you have made me strong.
And what can I do except to praise you? And that strength changes his perspective on the people around him. He now has confidence as he expresses in verse 11.
Look at it with me. He says, my eye has looked exultantly upon my foes. My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me. This God has made him strong. This God who said, look at it with me, come back to Psalm 91 and see how all of this ties together at the end of Psalm 91 again.
This God has promised the people of faith. Verse 14, because he's loved me, I will deliver him. I will set him securely on high because he's known my name. He will call on me and I will answer him. I'll be with him in trouble.
I'll rescue him and honor him. With a long life I'll satisfy him and let him see my salvation. What the psalmist in Psalm 92 has done here is brilliant and instructive at the same time.
And he's done that which is available for you to do in all of the simplicity and even obscurity of your own life compared to what the world loves. What the psalmist has done, what this psalm calls you to do, is to take God at his word. When God says that for the one who has loved him, for the one in our day who has put his faith in Christ, there is this promise of God's ultimate deliverance. There is this promise of security.
Look at verse 14 of Psalm 91 with me. This promise of security. This promise of answer in verse 15. This promise of his presence in trouble. This promise of rescue and even honor and satisfaction and ultimately beholding his salvation.
What the psalmist has done here in Psalm 92 is he has simply taken God at his word and said, I believe you and I trust you to keep your word to me personally in that and therefore I can look at my foes and as it were I can laugh at them. I am not intimidated any longer. I live with courage. I live with confidence because I know my God and I know my God is good and I know my God is faithful. I know my God cannot lie and God has said he'll do this for me and therefore I'm at rest. I am at secure. I am strong. I am no longer afraid.
That kind of faith is designed to strengthen you against every obstacle that you face in life. Are there people who design your harm? Are there people who would try to mislead you?
Are there threats to your economic security? Are there those who hate you without cause? Are there those who lie against you and create difficulty for you? What Psalm 92 is teaching us here is to draw upon these promises of God and to see through it all.
Say yes, the temporary consequences of this may be difficult, painful, and cry out for justice that is temporarily denied but, beloved, where we are to go as believers in Christ is we are to go beyond that and say I view all of this not through the lens of my human oppressor or through the human circumstances. I view this through the God who has saved me, who has brought me to himself and who has said I will be this kind of God to you. This is the kind of God I am to you. I will deliver you. I will secure you. I will keep you. I will be with you in your trouble. I will rescue you and I will ultimately honor you and one day you'll see my salvation.
That is designed to bring you to a point where you can say with the psalmist in Psalm 92 verse 10, look at it again with me, God you've exalted my horn. God I look at your promises. I look at Christ.
I look at the empty tomb. I look at the throne of God where my brother is interceding for me in heaven and I realize I'm in a position of great security, of great confidence, of great blessing and this is what you have done for me. I know it based on the testimony of your word. I have an inward persuasion of certainty wrought by the Holy Spirit that these things are true and they belong to me and therefore through the promises of God, through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit, our hearts are brought to a place of serenity and confidence, trusting that God will do exactly what he has said for his people. I belong to you therefore you will do this for me.
It could be no other way. And all of that personal dynamic adds to the grounds of the psalmist's praise for the intrinsic worth of God. God your glory I praise you in music. God in contrast to the world you're so great. God I now see it personally how good and wonderful you've been to me and I thank you for that.
I'm confident in that. God my soul rests in you. I put aside, I leave behind the agitation of heart that has a way of dominating my thinking. Oh God you say, God I leave it behind because I'm utterly persuaded that what you have said you will do for me.
You've exalted my horn. You've brought me into a place of security in Christ and all I can do is praise you and rest in you right there. Now it goes on in Psalm 92 verse 12 and he says this and he expands it out.
It's not just him. This is true of all of those who are righteous by faith. Verse 12, the righteous man will flourish like the palm tree. He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and very green. As I said last time the palm trees and cedars are stately trees in that region.
The palms can live for 200 years. The cedars for thousands of years. Years ago on business I was in Lebanon and I saw some of the cedar trees in Lebanon. It's stunning the size and the magnitude of these trees and this picture of a flourishing strong steady tree is in contrast to the passing grass of the wicked. And so the picture of the trees are designed to instill in you a picture of permanence and of strength. Full of sap, very green, full of all of their vitality even after the passing of much time. So much so that he says in verse 14, speaking about the nature of the lives of the righteous, they will still yield fruit in old age.
They shall be full of sap and very green. That even in old age there is no cause for fear because God so blesses the righteous that he will invigorate them with life and vitality even if their bodily strength is fading. The wicked perish prematurely but the righteous flourish in their old age. The idea is this, you may be physically weak but in Christ in reliance on these promises of God you have spiritual strength and you have the ability and you have the opportunity even in your physical weakness to give testimony to the greatness and the goodness of God and find a revitalization of your spirit even as your body is breaking down all around you. Even as gravity is taking its toll and the further along we go in life we should look forward as we anticipate old age to have a sense that I am going to trust God to give me spiritual vitality even when my body weakens along the way. You, beloved, as a Christian you should look forward to old age with this expectation that God is going to enable me to glorify him even as my body breaks down and I am going to look forward to that. I'm going to trust him for that and I am going to aim my life for that so that I am not afraid but that I will that I will bring forth spiritual fruit even if I am physically more and more limited as each day goes by. In the end the aged righteous add to the praise of God. Look at verse 15 with me. He said they'll still yield fruit in old age.
They'll be full of sap and very green. What's the point of that? Why? Why do they have this vitality? Because, beloved, as long as you are breathing even in your old age you still have the same purpose to fulfill.
You have this opportunity and this responsibility in your old age. Verse 15, to declare that the Lord is upright, he is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in him. To have this sense as life advances on when others are complaining about their aches and pains, as others are fading around you, there is this pulsating, vibrating sense of spiritual vitality that says even now, even in my physical brokenness, I am still going to declare that God is good, that he is great, and he is faithful to me. These metaphors in verse 15 are an expression of the way that God protects and shelters his people.
He's my rock. He's upright. God defends me in perfect faithfulness. God does not disappoint me. God is completely reliable. First of all, God is transcendent and God is faithful to his people. That's who God is.
What do we do with that? The honor, the glory, the majesty of such a transcendent God who is loyal to his people like this, the honor of that God should be declared. It should be stated. It should be made plain without qualification, without shame, with gladness, with passion, with love, with loyalty, by faith declared.
That's who God is and he's great. And it should all be done with joy and gladness. And there's a sense in which the whole point of Psalm 92 is to say, I do declare that.
I do declare it. Look at the beginning and the end of Psalm 92 in verse 1. It's good to give thanks to the Lord, sing praises. Verse 2, here it is, to declare your loving kindness in the morning and your faithfulness by night. It's good to declare the loyal love of God. Now look at the end there in verse 15.
Why are the aged full of sap and very green? He comes back. He closes where he began. He's come full circle. He's tied it all together to declare that the Lord is upright.
He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in him. This whole Psalm has taught us that to know this God by faith is to declare him in praise. That's why we exist.
That's why you exist as a believer in Christ. You exist to extend the praise and the proclamation of the glory of this great God. The one who delivered you from sin will also deliver you from this mortal world so that you arrive safely in your heavenly home.
He said, I go to prepare a place for you so that where I am, you may be also. And with that, we come to the end of our series, Here You May Safely Dwell. Psalms 90 through 92 are great places to return again and again for strong biblical perspective and encouragement.
Be sure to bookmark them. Well, Pastor Don Green will have more powerful teaching for you on our next broadcast. So join us then here on The Truth Pulpit. But Don, before we go, any final thoughts about our just concluded series?
Well, Bill, I guess the thing that comes to my mind is this. These Psalms have taught us and reminded us of the brevity of life and yet shown us that there is a way to triumph and have joy despite that. God is our refuge. He is our dwelling place. We can go to him safely. And when we know that, we can declare his praise.
Our relationship with Christ allows us to transcend this temporary world and to go through with peace and joy as we walk toward our eternal home. Thanks, Don. And friend, be sure to visit thetruthpulpit.com to find out more about our ministry. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time when Don Green presents more from The Truth Pulpit.
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