The title of this Psalm is: A Psalm. A song. For the Sabbath day. This psalm was the only one that was titled as such. Perhaps it was meant for the Israelite community to meditate and sing on the Sabbath day. In Old Testament times, the Sabbath was a day of rest. Not only that, it was also a day of corporate worship.
Today, we worship the Lord corporately on Sundays but we can use this psalm in our private prayers and meditation. The pandemic may create mixed emotions in us, but let us find hope and rest in God. There are still so many reasons to give thanks to God.
Give Thanks to the Lord because of Who He is (vv 1-3)
1 It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 proclaiming your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
and the melody of the harp.
It is good to give thanks to God. These verses tell us:
Because He is the Lord Most High. He is the supreme Being. He was not created. He is the Creator, the Maker of this universe. There is none above Him. As created beings, it is right and appropriate to give thanks to our Creator.
We give thanks to God because of His lovingkindness and faithfulness. The psalmist urges us to declare the Lord’s lovingkindness in the morning, and His faithfulness every night.
Day and night, God is right there with us. He does not forget us. He showers us in the morning with His lovingkindness. And at night, He remains faithful. The night time is the best time to recall how He has been with us and helped us throughout the day.
Declaring God’s love and faithfulness is one of the ways to give thanks to God.
Give thanks to the Lord because of His Work (vv4-5)
4 For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
The psalmist is rejoicing because of what God has done. It is never about us, but it is about God. The Bible frequently talks about the right hand of God. When the Bible talks about God’s right hand, it is referring to His strength. It also refers to these things: protection of God (Psalm 44:3, Psalm 17:7, Psalm 18:35; Psalm 20:6-7), the promise of God (Psalm 110:1, Acts 2:32-33), God’s provision (Psalm 16:11, Isaiah 41:10).
We can rejoice at the works of the Lord: His purpose, His protection, His promise, His provision and His wisdom.
5 How great are your works, Lord,
how profound your thoughts!
Give thanks to the Lord because He delivers us (vv 10-11)
9 For surely your enemies, Lord,
surely your enemies will perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox;
fine oils have been poured on me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries;
my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.
The Lord is great. There are no powers greater than His. And His love for us is so great. We give thanks to the Lord because He delivers us. It always seems that evil people are flourishing and can escape their punishments. But they can not escape God’s punishments. As verse 11 says, the evil and the wicked will be defeated. God’s enemies will perish. Evil people will not be able to escape from God’s punishments.
And, we give thanks to God because of the salvation we have through Jesus Christ. 2,000 years ago, God sent His only beloved Son, Jesus Christ into this world. He lived a perfect life—He was without sin. Because of His great love for us, Jesus took all of our sins upon Himself. The punishment that was supposed to be ours was upon Him. Jesus was crucified on the Cross for us, died and rose again on the 3rd day to give us eternal life. Whoever believes in Him will be with Him in Heaven. Because Jesus died and rose again, He has the final victory.
In Old Testament times, the horn was a symbol of strength and might. When the psalmist says that that his horn will be exalted (verse 10), that means he will be strengthened. Evil people will perish but the righteous will be exalted.
Fine oil refers to anointing. We need God’s anointing to serve Him. If not, we will lose our joy or get burned out very quickly. Ask for God’s anointing daily.
Not only does God give us strength, he gives us stability too.
Give thanks to the Lord because He will cause the righteous to flourish (vv 12-15)
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree (verse 12). The palm tree here is the date palm. The tree grows up to 120 feet and the branches extend out to a circumference of 30 feet. These were tall and majestic trees! These trees produce fruits and the leaves were used to make fence and roofs. This is the description for the righteous! They will be strong, stable and fruitful.
The cedar trees of Lebanon were known for their size, beauty, stability, usefulness and they last long. The blessings for the righteous will be like that too: strong, stable, useful, and last for a long time.
For the righteous, they will still bear fruit in old age. Age is not a factor that stops us from serving God. As the psalmist says, the righteous will still be fruitful in their old age. They will stay fresh and green. The righteous will be so connected to God that they are always fresh and will not dry up. I would like to think that their spirit is vibrant, active and alive although physically, they may be wasting away due to old age.
The righteous are always flourishing and fruitful. Their roots are deep in the ground and yet, like the branches of the tree, they branch out to bless others.
What will the righteous do? They will proclaim the goodness of God (verse 15).
May each one of us not cease to give thanks to God. May you be like the palm trees, sinking our roots into God’s Word and reaching out to bless those around us. May you be like the palm trees, flourishing, growing strong, bearing good fruits, blessed so that God will be magnified in your lives.