Today: [Psalm 92-93] Thankfulness, Praise and the Rule of God. In psalms 92-93 we see two ancient psalms purportedly written by Adam himself. We also see reference to the mythical unicorn. There are 9 references to the unicorn in scripture. Did this equine, one-horned animal exist in ancient times – or is this proof of the spurious superstition of a fallacious document we consider sacred text? We also see in psalm 93 a definition of the rule of God over the social structures of men and our call to overcome the world system by our faith in Christ.
[Psa 92:1-15 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day.]] [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: 2 To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, 3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. 4 For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. 5 O LORD, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep. 6 A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this. 7 When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; [it is] that they shall be destroyed for ever: 8 But thou, LORD, [art most] high for evermore. 9 For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
Inexplicably many Jewish writers believe that Psalm 92 was written by the first man, Adam himself. They suggest that it was written as a reproof regarding the proper use of musical instruments which were invented by Jubal of the line of Cain who did not worship God. The celebration of the Sabbath day is the occasion of the writing of the psalms although ancient sources believed that the Sabbath referred is the millennial Sabbath when the entire creation will be at rest for eternity under the direct rule of God.
In Judaism this psalm is repeated 3 times during Shabat and recited during other observances as well. Other Jewish sources suggest that Adam was created on a Friday and said this psalm at the onset of Shabat when he marveled at creation newly formed by the hand of God. The psalm has been put to music by several composers including Eric Zeisl who dedicated his piece to his father and to all the Jews in Europe who suffered in the holocaust.
Verse 1 states that it is good to give thanks to the Lord and to praise His name. There is a separation of these two things as distinct from one another. Giving thanks is one thing – and giving of praise is another. Perhaps one of the most significant examples of giving thanks is the Samaritan leper in Luke 17, one of ten who returned to give thanks to Jesus for healing him:
[Luk 17:15-19 KJV] 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on [his] face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where [are] the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
We can see in the passage that though all 10 were cleansed there was an added dimension of healing because the leper not only had faith but a faith inspired to thankfulness to Christ for cleansing him of his disease. Thus as the verse says it is good to give thanks. Thankfulness to God carries with it an added dimension of blessing. It is also of note that thankfulness is more than a sentiment of appreciation. It involves verbal expression and concerted effort often publically directed to God in the company of witnesses.
10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like [the horn of] an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil. 11 Mine eye also shall see [my desire] on mine enemies, [and] mine ears shall hear [my desire] of the wicked that rise up against me. 12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; 15 To shew that the LORD [is] upright: [he is] my rock, and [there is] no unrighteousness in him.
Verse 10 speaks of the writers “horn” being exalted. This is a metaphor of power and promotion. The comparison is made to the horn of the unicorn. This begs the question – is the bible suggesting that the unicorn (a mythical creature) existed? Here is another reference to Adam being the author. Jewish scholars may attribute the psalm to Adam because Jewish legend claims that the unicorn refused to enter into the ark of Noah and therefore died in the flood, thus becoming extinct.
It is humorous that while the King James mentions the unicorn that the NIV and other modern translations sanitize the reference, making it refer to the more plausible wild ox. There are actually 9 references in the scripture to the unicorn. Noah Webster’s 200 year old dictionary shows us that the definition of unicorn has evolved over time. His definition simply describes the unicorn as “any one horned creature” of which there are some to be found in creation. One example would be the Asian one-horned rhinoceros.
Does this explain then the reference to the unicorn in the bible? Tantalizingly there are 18th century reports of rock drawings found in the south of Africa depicting an equine (horse-like) animal with one horn protruding from its forehead. Some creationists believe that the unicorn may very well have existed but became extinct in antiquity much as the dodo bird became extinct in our time. Whatever may be the case the writer seems to clearly be describing a real creature known to both the writer and his readers at the time.
[Psa 93:1-5 KJV] 1 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, [wherewith] he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. 2 Thy throne [is] established of old: thou [art] from everlasting. 3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. 4 The LORD on high [is] mightier than the noise of many waters, [yea, than] the mighty waves of the sea. 5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.
Psalm 93 is attributed to Moses by some, others to David. It was intended to be sung on the 6th day, the day before the Sabbath. The subject is the throne of God and the kingdom of God that rules over all. Verse 1 speaks of God as being clothed in majesty and girded with strength wherewith the world is undergirded. This is not just speaking of the natural earth – but the world order.
This brings up an interesting subject regarding references to the world and the world system in the bible. In Christian theology the 3 enemies of the soul are the world, the flesh and the devil. John 16:33 speaks of Jesus overcoming the world. 1 John 5:4-5 states:
[1Jo 5:4-5 KJV] 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
The word used for world here is “cosmos”. It is defined as an “aggregate of harmonious systems functioning as a whole”. There is a vision common in prophetic circles called the 7 mountain vision that describes the world comprising 7 distinct systems making up society as a whole.
In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission, had lunch together in Colorado. God simultaneously gave each of these change agents a message to give to the other. During that same time frame Francis Schaeffer was given a similar message. That message was that if we are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then we would have to affect the seven spheres, or mountains of society that are the pillars of any society.
These seven “mountains” are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion. These systems make up the biblical societal cosmos that must be overcome by the believer in Christ. You might ask why these represent something at enmity with God? Because if you study the early chapters of Genesis you will find that cities, metallurgy, music, etc. were all originated in the line of Cain and not the line of Adam’s third son Seth. This is what Augustine referred to as the city of man. Augustine, writing in the aftermath of the fall of Rome declared that there were 2 cities in the earth, one built on love of self, the other built on love of God.
This is important to note because if you notice RELIGION is part of the world. In modern times the church has allowed itself to be defined as originating in the world system as religion. This came about in order to bring an end to persecution in the third century. In the early years of the church before they were called Christians by the pagan world, they were simply “followers of the way”. They were an indefinable and elusively understood phenomena. They were as Jesus said “in the world but not of it…” Out of that thought we hear many Christians defining themselves as “spiritual” but not religious. Religion is the ghetto that the world places the church in so as to marginalize who we are and keep us manageable as they go on their way without Christ.
Our part and our portion is to defy the definition that the world would place on us. Jesus did not die to bring about the establishing of the great institutions of religion. The whole premise of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is to bring about not an institution of the masses but a deeply personal, intimate experience with God defined in the new birth and subsequent baptism in the Holy Spirit. Experiential spirituality and institutional religion are two entirely different things both anathema to one another. Unfortunately, the Evangelical movement – now grown cold over time has muddied the water by filling its ranks with people more drawn to the Evangelical church as an institution rather than seeking intimate, life altering relationship with the Lord they claim to represent.
In conclusion when verse 5 speaks of the surety of the testimonies of the Lord we recall the message of Rev. 19:10 that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Christ. For those seeking personal and intimate relationship with God we can never be content within the confine of religious culture. We are sojourners as the writer of Hebrews states – joining with Him – with Jesus outside the camp, indefinable, elusive, pilgrims looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.
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