Works of the Lord
By Nate HartmanSeptember 19, 2011
This is the sixth in a season-long series of posts on the topic of joy, as it relates to the life and athletic pursuits of your teams. These weekly posts will correspond with each weekly study from The Wellspring of Life Initiative, a unique "Discipline for Godliness" program for athletes developed by the NCSAA (and available to all member schools, as part of their membership). This post corresponds with Week 5: "Works of the Lord."
1 It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, 2 proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, 3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp.
4 For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. 5 How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts! 6 Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand, 7 that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.
8 But you, Lord, are forever exalted.
9 For surely your enemies, Lord, surely your enemies will perish; all evildoers will be scattered. 10 You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured on me. 11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
-- Psalm 92
- According to verse 4, what is the source of the psalmist’s joy? Why can the psalmist be confident that God’s works will always be good for him (v. 13)? How often does the psalmist express this joy (v. 1)?
- What does the psalmist, in verse 1, say it is good to do; and in what way does he offer that praise (v. 1-3)? Does that mean he carried his harp and walked around singing “Praise the Lord” all day long? How might you praise God for his love and faithfulness throughout the day and night? How can an athlete do so in a continual way?
- Can you think of a time when you, in your athletic endeavors, expressed joy in response to what the Lord has done for you? Do you typically, in the moment, thank God for the “good things” of sports (the fun of playing a sport, the relationships that you enjoy, the excitement of scoring or succeeding or winning, the improvements that you’ve made, etc), or do you usually talk about how much you’ve enjoyed those things (without recognizing God’s hand in them)? Discuss some of those “good things” right now, and evaluate whether your team faithfully thanks God for his goodness to you. How can the members of your team help one another to live in a ever-present recognition of God’s goodness?
- Verses 6-7 describe the short-term perspective of “senseless people,” who don’t understand that wickedness (though it may prosper for a while) will ultimately meet destruction. The truth of God’s thoughts and intentions, though, is much more “profound” (v. 5). For what reason can the righteous man be joyful, even when he sees the wicked flourish (v. 12-14)?
- What works and deeds of the Lord, then, should bring you the greatest joy? Is it wrong to enjoy the short-term pleasures and blessings that God brings into your life? Do the joys of this life have any value without the confidence of a long-term relationship with Christ? Can an athlete find fulfillment in athletics, apart from a relationship with Christ?
- What happens to the works of the “senseless” man (v. 6-7, 9)? Are you a senseless athlete? Is your team senseless? Is your joy based on whether or not you win a game or perform well, or is it based on something more reliable (the works of the Lord)? How can you encourage each other to make that the basis for your joy? Should that diminish your desire to win? Can a team seek to find its joy in relationship with God, and still passionately pursue athletic excellence? Can those goals co-exist?