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God’s Word for You

Psalm 52:8-9 A believing man

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, June 4, 2022

8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;
  I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

Here David runs back to Psalm 1. The godly man “is like a tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:3). But he flourishes in the house of God. This is not only God’s tent or tabernacle, but in the shrine of the congregation, wherever two or three are gathered in the name of Christ (Matthew 18:20). This is where trust and faith are nourished, where the roots of the tree are fed by the river of the water of life (Revelation 22:1), the water that makes each one of us into “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). This is not an allegory of baptism, although baptism is a part of this. No, it is a comparison between how trees and the flora of God thrive in our world and how Christians thrive in the word of God. The blessings that plants receive are from water and sunlight and the good soil in which they are planted, and the greatest blessings we receive are from the flowing river of truth, which is the word of God, and the Holy Spirit, who lives in us. David the poet is not being poetic at all when he says, “I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.” He is being as precise as an engineer, as exact as a surgeon, as careful as a grammarian. He is operating within the precise tolerances of the theology and dogmatics of the Holy Scriptures: the time of God’s unfailing love for us is “for ever and ever,” eternal life, promised, offered, and given to us by God’s Son, our Savior Jesus.

9 I will praise you forever for what you have done;
  in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
  I will praise you in the presence of your saints. (NIV)

Here again, David is not speaking with mere poetry or exaggeration when he says: “I will praise you forever” or “I will praise you in the presence of the saints.” The former is the praise we will give to God eternally in heaven. The latter is both the praise we will give God in heaven among the rest of the saints (for each of us with faith is a saint) and also among the saints here on earth in our own lifetime.

The name of God is every name, title, adjective and description of God given in the Bible, as well as some that are the Bible’s clear teaching even if the term we use is not present, such as “triune” (taught in Matthew 28:19-20; Deuteronomy 6:4, 2 Corinthians 13:14 and other places). The name of God identifies him so that we may direct our worship to him correctly. Worshiping a false god is forbidden, therefore when Elijah challenged the priests of the god Baal, he focused on the names of the gods they worshiped: “You call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the LORD” (1 Kings 18:24). We do not worship a vague or unknown god, but the creator of all things, “the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land” (Jonah 1:9).

The Second Commandment protects the name of God and teaches us to use the name of God to proclaim his gospel (with word, sacrament, and music) and to pray to him. All of the titles and descriptions of God are good, as David confesses in the second line of this verse (also see Psalm 54:6; . Like the rest of the creation, the name of God is perfect. Unlike mankind and the earth, the name of God was not tainted by the fall into sin but remains holy along with the other things that dwell in heaven and the good angels. The souls of our loved ones are also there, waiting for the moment when they will be reunited with their flesh in the resurrection, singing and praising God in every way until that time (Revelation 5:9,12).

The believer throws aside doubts about God, and then he throws away even more. In the end, the believer throws himself aside: his sinful opinions, his guesses at things that lead him away from God’s word, his faulty desires, his many lusts, the sinful habits of his younger years. These things will stick to him because they were once part of him, but he will not let them rule his heart. He throws aside his sinful self and lets himself be shepherded by God. What is God’s will? What is God’s word? What is God’s desire? What is God’s plan? These are the things upon which he learns to meditate as he studies the Scriptures. His eyes are on heaven; his heart yearns for it, and he wants his heart to beat to the rhythm of the sacred heart of Jesus Christ our Lord. He says: “I have been saved by Jesus. Let me walk with Jesus today and always.”

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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