We left off last time discussing that although evil may flourish for a time, it will ultimately be destroyed. The psalmist compares evil to the weeds or grass, which appears rapidly but does not last.
But you, O Lord, will be exalted forever.
9 Your enemies, Lord, will surely perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.
10 But you have made me as strong as a wild ox.
You have anointed me with the finest oil.
11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.
12 But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
13 For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
15 They will declare, “The Lord is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in him!”
Psalm 92:8-15 (NLT)
Unlike evil, which has a definite end in sight, God’s praise and worship will continue for all eternity. He is worthy, and eternal exaltation is hardly enough to worship the Living God.
For those who worry that Heaven will somehow be like a never ending worship service, please do not be afraid! IF the thought of just singing for all eternity fills you a sense of dread, then please let me reassure you.
I love to sing, and especially so to the Lord. However, Heaven offers more than just unending choirs and instrumental praise. Worship is far more than singing. Singing is a vehicle certainly, but it is just one vehicle.
We worship God with our very breath. Every day while you work, serve, rest or play, you can worship God Most High. How? We do that by putting Him at the centre of everything we do. When we work, we work to the Lord. When we rest, we rest in His presence. When we walk, we walk with Him. Anything you can can be done with worship in your heart.
Heaven will be life – eternal life – and a life lived in worship and exaltation to our deserving King.
Strong as an Ox
Verse 10 gives thanks to God for giving us the strength of an ox. Interestingly, some translations render this “unicorn” rather than “wild ox,” but the point is the same.
Our strength is found in relationship with God. When times get tough, and they do, we must turn to God and draw on His power. We cannot do it all ourselves or in our own strength. Instead, we must rely on Him and be fully dedicated to prayer.
Do you feel as strong as an ox? If you are like me, then you perhaps must admit to not feeling quite so vibrant most days. My strength fades when I take my eyes off of Christ. After a sleepless night with a child, it is very easy to give in to the temptation of being pitiful, or being snappy or grumpy.
What’s the solution? The latter part of verse 10 tells us. The Lord God has anointed us with finest oil. Oil in the Bible is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit. When our strength is lacking, we must seek the refreshing presence of the Holy Spirit who renews and rejuvenates us. While this can be physical of course, primarily I am thinking of an inward refreshing.
Praise the Lord for sending us His Comforter and Strengthener!
Like a Palm Tree
In verse 7 of this psalm (not quoted above) the evildoer is compared to the weeds or grass, and we should take from this that it is short-lived. Grass and weeds seem to sprout as if from nowhere, and yet a hot summer or hard frost (more likely here in the UK!) and they are gone.
In contrast, the godly are compared to the palm tree or the cedars of Lebanon in verse 12. Times of heat or cold won’t destroy us. For the godly, rooted and anchored in God’s love, we have the staying power to outlast this world and its difficulties.
I love the imagery of the godly trees being transplanted into God’s garden from verse 13. We were all once lost and part of the world, yet God saved us and transferred us into His Kingdom where can flourish in His presence.
For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,
Colossians 1:13 (NLT)
Evil is a temporary weed, but the godly are trees forever transplanted into the court of our God.
The Final Word
The psalm concludes with two key points. Firstly, that God is our Rock. The second that there is no evil in Him at all.
Let’s take the latter first.
God is not evil, nor is there any evil in Him at all. Some accuse Him of this but this comes only from our own human ignorance. I do not mean to sound harsh there, but as verses 5 and 6 remind us – God’s thoughts are very deep, and only those who lack understanding believe that evildoers escape judgement.
When tragedy befalls us, it can be easy to point at God and blame Him. We may say, “If God is so good, then why did so-and-so have to die so young?” These are natural questions, and yet ones that can never be answered satisfactorily. If we knew what God knows, then we would be able to answer.
God’s love is demonstrated at the cross of Jesus Christ. He took on all the pain and suffering of this world, taking our place so that we can go free. That is love!
I am not saying that trouble is easy to cope with, nor that you should not grieve when you lose a loved one. The pain of loss makes us feel all kinds of things, and I would not presume to quarrel with yu over it. However, please do not doubt God’s love.
God is good, and there is no evil in Him. And He is our Rock. Rocks do not change. They are stable. Large enough ones cannot be moved or shifted. Likewise, God does not change, He is stable, and He cannot be moved.
Let us exalt Him this day and sing for joy at the work of His hands!