Why Praise Yahweh?
(H) A psalm, a song for the Sabbath day. (1) (It is) good to praise Yahweh, and to make music to your name, O Most High, (2) to declare in the morning your steadfast love and your faithfulness at night, (3) upon a ten-stringed lute, and on the harp and the strumming of the lyre, (4) for you have made me glad by your deeds, Yahweh. At the work of your hands I sing for joy. (5) How great are your works, Yahweh! How profound are your thoughts! (6) A senseless person cannot know, nor can a fool understand this, (7) that, though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed. (8) But you, Yahweh, (reign) on high forever.
The first thing we should note in these opening eight verses is that God’s name, “Yahweh,” occurs four times. Throughout the psalm, “Yahweh” is used seven times prompting us to ask, “Is this sevenfold repetition a reflection of the statement in the heading that this psalm is to be used on the Sabbath, the seventh day?”
Several other repetitions and synonyms, all in groups of three, mark the first half of Psalm 92. First, we find three verbs used to describe our worship: “to give thanks...to make music” (vs. 1) as well as “to declare” (vs. 2). Next, we observe three instruments on which that worship music is to be accompanied: the ten stringed lute, the harp, and the lyre (vs. 3). Then, we find three nouns, one repeated, describing what should prompt our worship: God’s “deeds” and “the work of your hands” (vs. 4) as well as the repetition of “your works...your thoughts” (vs. 5). Finally, we find three more terms that describe those who are indifferent to worship: the “senseless person” and the “fool” (vs. 6) as well as the “wicked” (vs. 7).
Yahweh’s greatness and eternal reign prompt two types of response:
- worship from those who delight in praising him. (1-5 & 8)
- indifference from those who remain oblivious to his worth. (6 & 7)
Those who truly know Yahweh delight in praising him while those who do not know him remain indifferent to him.
We who worship Yahweh and rejoice in offering him our praises often wonder how those who do not possess our kind of faith, often family members and close friends, remain indifferent to what seems so delightful to us. It seems that they are like a sightless person denying the existence of the sun or like a deaf person denying the beauty of a symphony. This psalm describes such people as senseless and foolish, completely unaware of the destruction that awaits them (vss. 6 & 7).
Paul in 2 Corinthians offers an explanation for this dilemma. “The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). Paul also indicates that only through the working of the Holy Spirit can any of us understand spiritual truths (1 Cor. 2:14). Theologians call this “illumination.” In other words, unless God’s Spirit lifts the veil of darkness shrouding our hearts, we will never be able to see the light of God’s glory nor understand the truths revealed in Scripture. The very fact that we have a sense of who God is and praise him for what he has done is clear evidence of the Spirit’s working in our hearts. It takes a spiritual rebirth for our blinded eyes to see, our deafened ears to hear, and our stony hearts to respond to God’s truth.
We should never be surprised that unbelievers cannot see what we see. Our response should rather be to pray for God to illumine their hearts, open their blinded eyes, and unstop their deafened ears. A paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 4:6 suggests how we might pray: “God, you once said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness.’ You are certainly able to cause your light to shine in the hearts of the spiritually blind. Give (name) a saving knowledge of the grace of Jesus Christ for your name’s sake.”