Tuesday, December 27, 2022

2022.12.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 75

Read Psalm 75

Questions from the Scripture text: Into whose hands was this Psalm committed (superscript)? With what instructions? By what human writer? As what sort of Psalm (cf. “songs” in Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:16)? What do we (doubly!) give (Psalm 75:1a)? To Whom? For what actions (verse 1b)? For what condition that these works declare (verse 1b)? Who is speaking now in Psalm 75:2? What will He choose (verse 2a)? What will He do then (verse 2b)? What happens at that time (Psalm 75:3a)? Despite what original condition, established by Whom (verse 3b)? What does the declaration of judgment tell to whom in Psalm 75:4a? And to whom in verse 4b? How do proud men imitate horned beasts (Psalm 75:5a)? How do they speak (verse 5b)? From where else also, other than man’s self, can’t exaltation come (Psalm 75:6)? Who alone exalts (Psalm 75:7a,c)? What else does He do (verse 7b)? What picture of judgment does Psalm 75:8 present? What is in His hand (verse 8a)? What is in the cup (verse 8b)? Is it just wine (verse 8c)? For whom does He pour this doctored wine (verse 8c–e)? How much do they drink? But what will the righteous do (Psalm 75:9a)? For how long? What else (verse 9b)? To Whom? What happens to the proud horns that the wicked have lifted up (Psalm 75:10a, cf. Psalm 75:4-5a)? Whose heads will be raised up instead (Psalm 75:10b)? 

How are God’s wondrous works related to His righteous judgment? Psalm 75 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these ten verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s wondrous works remind us that He is the great and sure Judge of all. 

This Psalm moves from giving thanks for wondrous works in the present (Psalm 75:1) to giving praise forever for God’s righteous judgments (Psalm 75:9). As it does so, it switches between the voices of the congregation (Psalm 75:1), the Lord Himself (Psalm 75:2-3Psalm 75:10), and the Psalmist (Psalm 75:4-9). Thus the Psalm itself conveys the feel of a courtroom where God is Judge, the Psalmist is the prosecutor, the righteous are the plaintiff and the observers, and the wicked are in the dock. The worshiper from the present in Psalm 75:1 visits the future judgment scene in order to respond properly to the present.

Give thanks. The first thing that we ought to do in the present is give thanks. God is always doing wondrous works. The sun keeps rising and shining. The earth keeps yielding its produce for our food. We live. These are not mechanical operations but personal actions that declare that God’s Name is near (Psalm 75:1b). Almighty power was needed to bring the world into existence, and almighty power is continuously needed to sustain it (as intimated by the image of “pillars” in Psalm 75:3). Return to Him thanks for all that He does!

Humble yourself. Current wondrous works (Psalm 75:1) remind us that there is a great, wondrous work coming at an appointed time of judgment (Psalm 75:2). Past creation and steady providence (Psalm 75:3b) remind us that the time of this world’s melting approaches (verse 3a). A proud or wicked man is like a horned beast, lifting its head defiantly… as it stands upon a raft in a river of lava, floating to the edge of a lava-fall into an ocean of it. 

What fools are the boastful! What fools are the wicked! And for whatever apparent humility the worldling may present, truly he is boastful if he thinks that he will survive apart from being declared righteous by God… or that one can make or declare himself righteous or be made righteous in any other way (Psalm 75:6). Yahweh Himself prepares the drugged wine, and the wicked will drain every last drop (Psalm 75:8). 

Trust in the Lord. The great surprise is not that God puts down the proud, but that there are some whom He exalts. Yet, indeed He does so. We know this because Israel was not always Israel. Israel began as Jacob (Psalm 75:9b), but God brought him low in order that he might know that it is God Who wrestles. These lowly ones for whom God Himself becomes their strength and righteousness shall surely be lifted up (Psalm 75:7c, Psalm 75:10b). 

Praise. Let us not stop at thankfulness for the Lord’s actions, but let us continue to the praise of His Person. That which He does is a demonstration of what He is like. Though we will sing His praises forever (Psalm 75:9), we must not wait until forever to begin singing those praises.

What are some wondrous works that the Lord has done in Scripture? What are some wondrous works that He has done in history? What are some wondrous works that He continuously does? Of which of the four primary responses above have you most needed to be reminded? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, we gave thanks to You for Your wondrous works. You made all things and uphold all things. Your character is righteous, Your laws are righteous, and Your coming judgment is both sure and just. Grant that by Your Spirit, we would humble ourselves before You to sing Your praise. And give us to know that in Jesus, You will lift us up all the way to glory, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP75 “To You, O God, We Render Thanks” or TPH75 “We Give You Thanks, O God”

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