It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night (Psalm 92:1,2)
It seems almost cruel to consider words like this in our current situation. It has been about 15 months since we have been able to sing together in church and we hope it won’t be long before we can do so again.
Yet these words are still true despite our current circumstances. It is good to make music and sing to the Lord, and it is good when we miss being able to do these things.
As this Psalm opens with words of praise, so it also gives us a surprising motivation to praise and worship:
For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, LORD, how profound your thoughts! (v4, 5)
We are motivated to worship the Lord because of the works of the Lord.
As we read this, we might think of the works of God in creation. The wonder and beauty and majesty of the created world often lead us to worship the creator, don’t they?
Or maybe It’s the saving works of God that the psalmist has in view here? How God brought his people out of slavery in Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. How God brought them back again from exile in Babylon and settled them once more in the land. How God’s saving work was fully completed by Jesus’ death on a cross and resurrection to new life.
These are certainly works that bring us to praise and worship. But they are not the works of God that the Psalmist has in mind here. It’s actually God’s work in judgement:
Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever. (v6,7)
I don’t know if you think of God’s judgement as a motivation to worship? Whether a line like verse 9, “your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered” leads us to praise? I suspect not. Questions, certainly, confusion and struggles, but probably not praise.
But verses like this show us the commitment God has for justice. God delights in righteousness, truth, and integrity. He works to bring these things out in his people and in his world. He stands against oppression, injustice and exploitation. He is for the downtrodden and ill-treated, and he is against the wicked. God is generous in justice.
Now, it is important to take note at this point that God’s justice is fully and completely seen in Jesus Christ. Jesus went to the cross to take the punishment we deserve, so that God’s justice is satisfied and we can be free. Anyone who comes to Jesus finds mercy and forgiveness, no matter what they have thought, said and done.
Nevertheless, God is still a God of justice. He delights over justice and hates injustice. He expects his people to mirror his heart of justice and be generous in fighting injustice. God delights in proving a place of safety for the oppressed and down-trodden.
The psalms’ lines about evildoers being destroyed and enemies perishing sound drastic and they are meant to sound that way. But the evildoers and wicked of the psalm are the ones who attack and kill and destroy. They are a presence of danger, and God desires peace and security. He wants his people to find in him and place of safety.
If we follow the God of justice, then we will want to pursue justice too. Worship is singing, certainly, and it is sad when we cannot sing as we might wish with other Christians. But worship is also pursuing justice, helping those in need and providing a place of safety for those who are vulnerable. Our worship in those areas need not be diminished if we cannot worship in song too.