The Word Made Fresh
(A psalm: a song for the Sabbath Day.)
1It is good to give thanks to the LORD.
It is good to sing your praise, Most High
2and to claim your unshakeable love each morning
and your faithfulness each night.
3We will make music for you with the lute and the harp
and the melody of the lyre.
4You, LORD, have made me glad,
and I will joyfully sing of the wonderful things you have done.
5How great are the things you have made, LORD!
How wonderful the things you think of doing!
6Fools cannot know this,
nor can the ignorant understand.
7And though wicked people spring up like grass and flourish,
they will always be doomed to destruction.
8But you, LORD, will be praised forever.
9All those who are against you shall perish
and those who engage in wickedness will be swept away.
10But you have increased my strength like that of a wild ox,
and have refreshed me with the finest oils.
11My enemies have been defeated – I have seen it with my own eyes
and heard about their fate with my own ears.
12The good people will thrive like the palm tree
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon
13that were planted in the courtyards of the LORD’s house,
and there they flourish.
14Even when they are old, they still produce fruit.
They are always green and filled with life.
15They witness to the goodness of the LORD
who is my rock and in whom there is no unrighteousness.
Superscription: “A psalm for the Sabbath Day.” If scholars are right that this section of Psalms was put together for the benefit of the Israelites after they were exiled to Babylon, then we might expect that keeping the Sabbath would be an important part of protecting their identity as God’s people.
1-4: The psalm begins with expression of the joy of worship. The joy of worship arises out of our appreciation and wonder at God’s creation.
5-9: It is a consistent expression of faith in the Psalms that God’s enemies (those who do not see that God rules) cannot flourish forever. Sooner or later their lack of faith in God will result in their end.
10-11: The author is certain that God is responsible for his security and his success against enemies.
12-15: In contrast to God’s enemies the righteous (those who accept the rule of God and seek to live accordingly) will thrive.
There are many places in the Bible where the belief is expressed that God will rescue the people from all oppression. On the surface that may sound a bit naïve, but they did not picture God swooping in on the spur of the moment to right every wrong. Their faith was simply that God is always working for the good of God’s people, knowing that work may take generations before it comes to fruition.