On Saturday afternoons in autumn, one of my favorite things to do is find a hearty stew recipe, throw open the windows, and stream a great playlist of folk music. I once heard someone say that beauty will save the world. I don’t know if this is true, but I fully believe that savoring the beauty in life attunes our attention to God’s goodness. It can help alleviate the darkness pressing in around us by offering a parting of the clouds—a heightened glimpse of light and hope. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know my life can always use an extra reminder that God is working behind the scenes.
Psalm 92 is said to be a song for the Sabbath. It’s a declaration of God’s justice (v.15) and His faithful love both in the morning and at night (v.2). We need songs like this, songs of Scripture, to bury inside us and remind us what’s true. This way, on an afternoon that doesn’t feel very beautiful, we can sing the song that declares God is just and advocating on our behalf for the rightness of all things. When we meditate on these songs, our hope is restored. And we can find rest again.
In this psalm, we see a lot of interesting metaphors drawn from the natural world to describe the characteristics of the righteous person. Though the wicked “sprout like grass” (v.7), the righteous will thrive like “a palm tree” or a “cedar tree in Lebanon” (v.12). The righteous are planted in the Lord like roots of a tree and will live a fruitful life, becoming “healthy and green” (vv.13–14). These arborous metaphors symbolize—and prophesy about—the vibrancy of life hidden in Christ and the nourishment He gives us, just like water and sunshine to a plant. As we pursue a life of righteousness, our legacy becomes this anthem of God’s faithfulness, declaring “the LORD is just; he is my rock” (v.15).
I love how many layers are woven into this psalm. At first glance, we’re told it’s a song to accompany our Sabbath rest. But in reading the lines of verse, we detect the heartbeat behind it: a desire for all things to be made right. The only reason to declare God as “just” is if you’ve been touched by injustice and, by doing so, participate in an act of rebellion against it.
You’ve probably heard the truism: “All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” It was Julian of Norwich who first said it. She was an English woman who lived a solitary life devoted to God during the Middle Ages. Psalm 92 is the undercurrent to her words. They look ahead to a time when the fullness of God’s justice will have its reign on earth, even as we usher in kingdom wholeness today.
We can find true rest in the knowledge that God is just; there is “no unrighteousness in Him” (v.15). But He also chooses to partner with us in confronting the injustices of the world. Oh Lord, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.