It is good….
The opening words of Psalm 92 perk my interest: “It is good.”
Those of us who would like for life to be good are left with the question: What is good?
Psalm 92:1 goes on to answer the question for us: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High.” The practice of gratitude and praise make life good.
About the value of gratitude, Joseph Addison points out, “There is no more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance.”
Praising God is just as valuable. Praise is the deliberate act of remembering and declaring the goodness of God regardless of our circumstances. In the process of doing this, our hearts begin to settle into the truth that God’s goodness withstands all of our hard times. True praise is not the declaration that your situation makes you happy; true praise is the decision to cast your hope on the goodness of God whether things are going well or poorly for you. Praise shifts the focus of our soul from the limitedness of our circumstances to the immeasurable love and the unstoppable capabilities of God. As verse 2 puts it: “To declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.”
As Psalm 92 focuses in on what we can thank God for and what we can praise God for, verse 4 draws our attention to the wonders of creation: “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy!”
There is something about beholding the beauty of creation that fills our souls with joy. Rachel Carson expresses it well: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
At the close of the psalm, our attention is pointed to another source of beauty—something else for which we can thank and praise God: the beauty of human goodness: “The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
As much as the beauty of nature thrills our souls, so does the sight of human goodness. When we see a person engaged in genuine compassion toward another person, it delights our hearts. More beautiful than the bright dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis or a mountain field of wildflowers, expressions of human goodness are the greatest masterpieces of all. Mindy Hale puts it this way: “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.”
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High” for the beauty of creation and for the beauty of human kindness.