PSALM 92 OVERVIEW.
TITLE -- A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath day. This admirable composition is both a Psalm and a Song, full of equal measures of solemnity and joy; and it was intended to be sung upon the day of rest. The subject is the praise of God; praise is Sabbatic work, the joyful occupation of resting hearts. Since a true Sabbath can only be found in God, it is wise to meditate upon him on the Sabbath day. The style is worthy of the theme and of the day, its inspiration is from the "fount of every blessing"; David spake as the Spirit gave him utterance. In the church of Christ, at this hour, no Psalm is more frequently sung upon the Lord's day than the present. The delightful version of Dr. Watts is familiar to us all --
"Sweet is the work, my God, my King,
To praise thy name, give thanks, and sing;
To shew thy love by morning light,
And talk of all thy truth at night."
The Sabbath was set apart for adoring the Lord in his finished work of creation, hence the suitableness of this Psalm; Christians may take even a higher flight, for they celebrate complete redemption. No one acquainted with David's style will hesitate to ascribe to him the authorship of this divine hymn; the ravings of the Rabbis who speak of its being composed by Adam, only need to be mentioned to be dismissed. Adam in Paradise had neither harps to play upon, nor wicked men to contend with.
Verse 1. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, or JEHOVAH. It is good ethically, for it is the Lord's right; it is good emotionally, for it is pleasant to the heart; it is good practically, for it leads others to render the same homage. When duty and pleasure combine, who will be backward? To give thanks to God is but a small return for the great benefits wherewith he daily loadeth us; yet as he by his Spirit calls it a good thing we must not despise it, or neglect it. We thank men when they oblige us, how much more ought we to bless the Lord when he benefits us. Devout praise is always good, it is never out of season, never superfluous, but it is especially suitable to the Sabbath; a Sabbath without thanksgiving is a Sabbath profaned.
And to sing praises unto thy name, O most High. It is good to give thanks in the form of vocal song. Nature itself teaches us thus to express our gratitude to God; do not the birds sing, and the brooks warble as they flow? To give his gratitude a tongue is wise in man. Silent worship is sweet, but vocal worship is sweeter. To deny the tongue the privilege of uttering the praises of God involves an unnatural strain upon the most commendable prompting of our renewed manhood, and it is a problem to us how the members of the Society of Friends can deprive themselves of so noble, so natural, so inspiring a part of sacred worship. Good as they are, they miss one good thing when they decline to sing praises unto the name of the Lord. Our personal experience has confirmed us in the belief that it is good to sing unto the Lord; we have often felt like Luther when he said, "Come, let us sing a psalm, and drive away the devil."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Title. This is entitled A Psalm to be sung on the day of the Sabbath. It is known that the Jews appropriated certain Psalms to particular days. R. Selomo thinks that it refers to the future state of the blessed, which is a perpetual sabbath. Others pretend that it was composed by Adam, on the seventh day of the creation. It might, with more probability, have been supposed to be put, by a poetic fiction, into the mouth of Adam, beholding, with wonder and gratitude, the recent creation. But Psalms 92:2 seems to refer to the morning and evening sacrifice, which the psalmist considers as most proper for prayer and praise. - -D. Cresswell.
Title. For the Sabbath day. Perchance, as Lud. de Dieu remarks on this place, every day of the week had its allotted psalms, according to what is said in the Talmud, lib. ~yfdq. The songs which the Levites formerly sang in the sanctuary are these: on the first day, Psalms 24:1-10 ; on the second, Psalms 48:1-14 ; on the third, Psalms 82:1-8 ; on the fourth, Psalms 104:1-35 ; on the fifth, Psalms 81:1-16 ; on the sixth, Psalms 93:1-5 ; on the seventh, the Psalms 92:1-15 , the beginning of which is, a psalm or a canticle for the Sabbath day, that is to say, for the future age, which will be altogether a sabbath. --Martin Geier.
Title. For the Sabbath. It is observable that the name JEHOVAH occurs in the Psalms seven times -- the sabbatical number (1,4,5,8,9, 13,15). --C. Wordsworth.
Verse 1. It is a good thing. It is bonum, honestum, jucundum, utile; an honest, pleasant, and profitable good. The altar of incense was to be overlaid with pure gold, and to have a crown of gold round about it. Which (if we may allegorically apply it) intimates unto us, that the spiritual incense of prayers and praises is rich and precious, a golden and a royal thing. --Henry Jeanes, in "The Works of Heaven upon Earth", 1649.
Verse 1. It is a good thing to give thanks, etc. Giving of thanks is more noble and perfect in itself than petition; because in petition often our own good is eyed and regarded, but in giving of thanks only God's honour. The Lord Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Now, a subordinate end of petition is to receive some good from God, but the sole end of thanks is to give glory unto God. --William Ames (1576- 1633), in "Medulla Theologica."
Verse 1. "Give thanks;" "praises." We thank God for his benefits, and praise him for his perfections. --Filliucius, out of Aquinas.
Verse 1. To sing praises.
- Singing is the music of nature. The Scriptures tell us, the mountains sing ( 41:23 ); the valleys sing (Ps 65:13); the trees of the wood sing ( 1 Chronicles 16:33 ). Nay, the air is the birds' music room, where they chant their musical notes.
- Singing is the music of ordinances. Augustine reports of himself, that when he came to Milan and heard the people sing, he wept for joy in the church to hear that pleasing melody. And Beza confesses, that at his first entrance into the congregation, and hearing them sing Psalms 91:1-16 he felt himself exceedingly comforted, and did retain the sound of it afterwards upon his heart. The Rabbis tell us, that the Jews, after the feast of the Passover was celebrated, sang Psalms 91:1-16 , and the five following psalms; and our Saviour and his apostles "sang an hymn" immediately after the blessed supper, ( Matthew 26:30 ).
- Singing is the music of saints.
- They have performed this duty in their greatest numbers, ( Psalms 149:1 ).
- In their greatest straits, ( 26:19 ).
- In their greatest flight, ( 42:10-11 ).
- In their greatest deliverances, ( 65:14 ).
- In their greatest plenties. In all these changes singing hath been their stated duty and delight. And indeed it is meet that the saints and servants of God should sing forth their joys and
praises to the Lord Almighty; every attribute of him can set both their song and their tune.
- Singing is the music of angels. Job tells us, "The morning stars sang together", ( Job 38:7 ). Now these morning stars, as Pineda tells us, are the angels; to which the Chaldee paraphrase accords, naming these morning stars, aciem angelorum, "a host of angels." Nay, when this heavenly host was sent to proclaim the birth of our dearest Jesus, they delivered their message in this raised way of duty, ( Luke 2:13 ). They were ainountwn, delivering their messages in a "laudatory singing", the whole company of angels making a musical choir. Nay, in heaven, there is the angels' joyous music, they there sing hallelujahs to the Most High, and to the Lamb who sits upon the throne, ( Revelation 5:11-12 ).
- Singing is the music of heaven. The glorious saints and angels accent their praises this way, and make one harmony in their state of blessedness; and this is the music of the bride chamber, ( Revelation 15:3 ). The saints who were tuning here their psalms, are now singing hallelujahs in a louder strain, and articulating their joys, which here they could not express to their perfect satisfaction. Here they laboured with drowsy hearts, and faltering tongues; but in glory these impediments are removed, and nothing is left to jar their joyous celebrations.
--John Wells (-1676), in "The Morning Exercises."
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- It is a good thing to have cause for gratitude. Every one has this.
- It is a good thing to have the principle of gratitude. This is the gift of God.
- It is a good thing to give expression to gratitude. This may excite gratitude in others.
Verse 1-3. The blessedness of praise,
Ps blockquote 1:1 92:1 . The theme of praise,
Psalms 92:2 . The ingenuity of praise,
Psalms 92:3 . Inanimate nature enlisted in the holy work.