Rest for the Weary

1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; 2 to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, 3 on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp. . . . 4 For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. —Psalm 92: 1-4

The author of this psalm is unknown, but most identify him as Moses. The character of this psalm is a hallel, or a psalm of praise, and is easily paired with Psalm 91. Remembering our look at Psalm 91 over the past few days, we recall that the author wrote, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust’” (Psalm 91:1-2). That psalm was filled with phrases like “perilous pestilence,” “arrows by day,” “terror by night,” “plagues,” “lions,” and “serpents”! All of these were met with the promised protection and deliverance by the Most High God as they put their trust in Him.

We also saw, as we keep these verses in context, that some really difficult things do come near to the chosen people of God, including Christians. Although the first three plagues when they were still slaves in Egypt did come near to the people, the last seven did not. Only the Egyptians suffered. We can take heart that when God plagues the world with wrath, it will not come near to us, His children.

There’s a truth contained in this psalm that will open the door of our hearts and minds to something that we may not always recognize but that will help us from being merely religious or mechanical in our praise and thanksgiving. Just as Psalm 91 was a song of trust, Psalm 92 is a song of praise. This is in the correct order, because learning to trust is essential to truly being able to praise. Praise absent of trust is merely insincere lip service and even hypocrisy. Job wrote, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation, for a hypocrite could not come before Him” (Job 13:15-16).

Remember, praise isn’t an expression of happiness but one of faith, no matter what may come. It can feel mechanical yet not be mechanical. How is that possible? It means that we can trust God when our hearts are broken and life is brutal and mean. It’s not that we must “feel good,” or get the warm fuzzies when we praise Him. Job declared that he would trust and defend his own ways before the Lord, meaning that he would justify his circumstances based on his pain and sorrow, and yet, out of heartbroken or even fearful sincerity, he would express his hope and trust in God and His Word, no matter what. Our psalm over the next few days will help us in this by reminding us of three things that are true yesterday, today, and forever.

This psalm is titled “A Psalm for the Sabbath.” The word Sabbath means “rest,” and resting in the Lord is an idiom for trusting in Him. For many, our psalm will take you to a place of trust and sincere praise, even if current or recent circumstances may leave you feeling as though He has slain you. Three things that were true yesterday are true today and will be true forever. They don’t change because the Lord never changes. He is the same—always. “For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?” (2 Samuel 22:32). We can trust in the Rock of our salvation no matter what may lie before us. He sees down the road ahead of us, and if we trust Him, will bring us exactly to where He wants us to be.

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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