A few weeks ago a high school classmate posted something on the Facebook page where members of my high school class of 1968 can meet and catch up with each other’s happenings. In this particular instance, it brought in a flood of memories from 57 years ago and led my convoluted mind to make all kinds of jumps, connections, and reflections.
One of our 7th grade teachers, Mrs. Rhodes, was being recognized.
The local Asheville, North Carolina TV station did a feature on her. Now close to 90, she had been principal of an elementary school in Western North Carolina for many years until she retired. The television story featured her years as principal. Before that, however, she had taught in several schools, one of which was Swannanoa Elementary School. She was my 7th-grade teacher in 1962-63.
Mrs. Rhodes was a good teacher, nice, but very much a no-nonsense person. She was fair and impartial. She had a paddle at least 18 inches long, with several holes in it, and she knew how (and when) to use it. I received one spanking from her during the year, and for the life of me, I can’t recall what I did, but I’m sure I deserved it.
She taught English, and 7th grade was the first year we started “changing classes,” with different teachers for each subject. She also taught music, perhaps to all the 7th grade classes, and worked with students on singing parts. It didn’t work too well with me, unfortunately.
One vivid memory is that in English class she had us memorize a passage from the Bible. (This was about the time prayer and Bible reading were being attacked and eventually outlawed in public schools.) We had to learn Psalm 92:1-8a. To my knowledge, I’d never read that before, and boy, was it powerful! “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: (verse 1)….“But thou, Lord, art most high forevermore.” (verse 8a)
Now I move forward over 20 years to our early years as missionaries in Panama.
In one of the inter-denominational gatherings, I heard a lively, syncopated, driving praise song which was sweeping through Latin America, based on that very same Psalm 92. I might add that it was sung constantly, in every kind of church imaginable, and to this day is still being sung, a standard, a stand-by, a testimony to God and the exuberance of singing His praises.
Bueno es alabarte, oh Jehová y cantar salmos a tu nombre (2X)
It’s good to praise you, oh Jehovah, and to sing psalms to your name
Anunciar por la mañana tu misericordia y tu fidelidad de noche (2X)
To announce your mercy each morning, and your faithfulness every night
En el cielo se oye y en la tierra se canta (2X)
In Heaven it is heard, and on the earth it is sung
Así, así, así se alaba a Dios (2X)
That’s how, that’s how, that’s how God is praised
Con mucha alegría y gozo (3X) Así se alaba a Dios
With much happiness and joy, that’s how God is praised
Levanten las manos todos (3X), Así se alaba a Dios
Everyone raise (or lift) your hands, that’s how God is praised.
As I thought of this juxtaposition of events…
Separated by many years, by countries, cultures, and languages, I again went back to Psalm 92. I remembered we only learned up to verse 8a in 7th grade, ending with “But, thou, o Lord art most high forevermore.” So I wanted to end this testimony, devotional thought, article with a few observations.
First, “Thou o Lord, art most high forevermore,” is powerful and encouraging. He is exalted (most High, exalted above any other. “There is none like thee.” He is exalted above all others; He alone is God. He alone is worthy. Can we grasp that? What a difference it would make in how we face all of life! He is also eternal. The KJV word is “forevermore.”
Second, the Psalmist sees God as being against his enemies, who ultimately will be brought down, judged, and punished (though we pray and strive for their salvation). Conversely, He is our (the believer’s) strength (vs. 10 “you have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox), and our anointing (vs. 10 “you have poured over me fresh oil.”), and our victory (vs. 11).
Third, I love verse 14. It wouldn’t have meant so much 57 years ago when I was 12, but it encourages me greatly now that I am 69. Look at verses 12-15. He makes the righteous flourish and grow. He plants him in the Lord’s house and makes him flourish in His courts. And praise God, there is still the potential to bear fruit in old age, full of sap and green! No matter our age, situation, state of health, or earthly condition, we can still declare His greatness! Thank the Lord!