Year C: Epiphany 8
(Sunday between February 25 and February 29)
Psalm 92: 1-4, 12-15
The preceding psalms, Psalms 90 and 91, are about those for whom Yahweh is a dwelling place (compare the sentiments in Ps 90:1 and 91:9). Psalm 91 acts as an assurance that Yahweh hears their call in Psalm 90 and will deliver them (91:14-15). In contrast to the brevity of the life lamented in Ps 90:4-6, 9-10, Yahweh will satisfy them with long life (91:16a). Psalm 92 then follows as further assurance, explaining that it is good to give thanks declaring Yahweh’s steadfast love and faithfulness. A brief connection is made in v. 1 to Psalm 91 (‘Most High’, cf. 91:1 and the divine ‘name’, cf. 91:14) and more substantial ones back to Psalm 90 through the realisation of several aspects of the petition in Ps 90:13-17 (see the common terms/phrases ‘gladness’ and ‘joy’ in 92:4, cf. 90:14-15, and Yahweh’s ‘work’ in 92:4-5, cf. 90:16). The image of the briefly flourishing grass is picked up from 90:5-6 in 92:7, albeit in a negative way. The righteous are compared to an evergreen tree planted in the house of Yahweh. There are echoes here of the image in Psalm of the tree planted by streams of water. The reference to the righteous dwelling with Yahweh in a tangible location (vv. 12-14; cf. Psalm 1), in contrast to Yahweh becoming their ‘dwelling place’ as in Ps 90:1, raises the question of whether the psalmist is speaking about a ‘real’ sanctuary. It stresses the concrete nature of our ‘dwelling’ with God.
Suggestions for use of the psalm in worship
The section omitted for today’s reading contains some elements that would need addressing in a broader context if they were to be read publicly: references to ‘the dullard’ and ‘the stupid’, evildoers doomed to destruction or perishing, and reference to kingship in v. 10 and the boasting over the destruction of opponents. The selected verses for today, however, do provide some material for liturgical use.
Verses 1-4 could easily be adapted for use in the prayer of adoration while vv. 12-15, again with some adaption, could well provide an introduction to the benediction.
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