Psalms 75 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson
This is not a Psalm that is well-known or as popular as Ps 23, 51, 73, 119, etc. but this is still a Psalm of great insight, warm-hearted devotion, and theology that both harmonizes with the entire Bible and makes us sit up straight and ponder deeply the majesty of God.
These were written as songs, a veritable hymnbook of the church. Words matter in the songs we sing. Andrew Fletcher (1653-1716), a Scottish writer and politician said, “Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” The startling observation about these songs is the depth of the theology in these hymns. Compare these hymns with some of the music/lyrics of our choruses and notice what we sing compared to what they sang. We preach sermons from their words thousands of years later.
Notice the verses begin and end with praise, (1, 9). The judgment of God is clearly stated in the context of praise to God not apology. The Psalmist begins by praising God, giving thanks “for your name is near” – meaning God’s presence. The author remembers God’s wondrous deeds. Both His judgments and His mercy. All God does is wondrous, glorious, and a reason to give thanks to God.
In verses 2 – 5, God speaks through a king or prophet. As you think about God and His wrath and judgment, consider that you may not feel the need for retribution. But how would you feel, if the rich, the wicked stole your property, murdered your child, or continually kept you in a state of poverty? If I was cheated out of the value of my home, my life savings, or know my wife was murdered at the hands of the wicked, God’s justice and wrath is something I would plead for.
In v. 2, God has established a time to judge the world with equity or fairness and justice. He sets the time, “I appoint” and witness also the certainty of His wrath: “At the set time that I appoint. . . .” Then see the warning God provides, “Do not boast . . .lift up your horn . . .speak with haughty neck.” Why does God warn? He is so full of compassion and mercy. He is not obligated to warn yet He is constantly warning.
Now in vs. 6-8, God is all His majesty and power is praised as being a God who executes judgment. This implies His wisdom in discerning between right and wrong and His status since He is above all other beings. No one can correct Him (Dan. 4:35). His justice is perfect.
Verse 8 is especially interesting. While there is not a literal cup that God has, the point is the certainty of His judgment and there will be no escaping His wrath (Job 21:20; Ps 11:6; Is 51:17; Jer 25:15ff; 27ff; Rev. 18:16). Drinking from this cup produces vomiting, falling and no one can refuse this cup. “And if they refuse to accept the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: You must drink! 29 For behold, I begin to work disaster at the city that is called by my name, and shall you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the LORD of hosts.’”
The verb “declaring” in verse 9 is both an expression of faith and worship. The author is stating where his loyalties lie, and he is committing himself to God. The author is no half-hearted believer, following God when times are good and then leaving when times are tough. This is a person who knows God . His commitment to God is declare His praise forever. This person knows God, what He has done for the righteous, and the end of the wicked.
The Bible often makes simple contrast to the righteous and the wicked. The most obvious is Psalm 1. Don’t disregard the simple as simplistic. We do not want to be so nuanced and sophisticated that we miss the obvious. God does not treat everyone the same. The horns of the righteous shall be lifted up (v. 10). God treats His own differently. He blesses them (Gen 12:2-3; Jer 32:41), loves them (Dt. 7:7-8), saves them, (Is 43:3) listens to their prayers (Mt. 21:22; I Pt. 3: and is close to them (Gen 17:8; John 17:23). He has adopted them into His family, so we call God, Our Father (Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5; Matt 6:9ff).
Father, thank you for treating your people as they do not deserve. We will never deserve Your kindness to us. Father help me also to understand your judgment. I not only want to understand, but I also want to thank you and praise You for Your just wrath. Keep me in Your love. Help me to declare Your worth in the presence of others: both the godly and the ungodly. For Your glory and the honor of Christ, Amen.