Weds 20 October - Psalm 76
1 God is renowned in Judah;
in Israel his name is great.
2 His tent is in Salem,
his dwelling place in Zion.
3 There he broke the flashing arrows,
the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.
4 You are radiant with light,
more majestic than mountains rich with game.
5 The valiant lie plundered,
they sleep their last sleep;
not one of the warriors
can lift his hands.
6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob,
both horse and chariot lie still.
7 It is you alone who are to be feared.
Who can stand before you when you are angry?
8 From heaven you pronounced judgment,
and the land feared and was quiet—
9 when you, God, rose up to judge,
to save all the afflicted of the land.
10 Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise,
and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.
11 Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them;
let all the neighbouring lands
bring gifts to the One to be feared.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers;
he is feared by the kings of the earth.
- - -
Meditation on Psalm 76
How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God.
We remind ourselves of who Asaph was and the ministries he was involved with.
1 Chronicles 15:16-17 ‘David told the leaders to appoint their fellow Israelites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments … they appointed Asaph…’
1 Chronicles 16:4 ‘He (David) appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to extol, thank and praise the LORD, the God of Israel: Asaph was the chief …’
1 Chronicles 25:1 ‘David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph for the ministry of prophesying…’
2 Chronicles 29:30 ‘King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed down and worshipped.’
The theme of this Psalm is to celebrate the greatness of God.
Verses 1-3 The God who makes Himself known
His powerful presence was felt throughout Judah and Israel.
Here are links to Psalms 46 – 48.
- God is great Psalms 47:2; 48:1; Psalm 76:1
- God is the defender of His people Psalm 46:11; 47:3; 48:3-7; 76:3
- God dwells among His people Psalm 46:4-5, 7; 48:14; 76:2
This God is our God and He lives among His people today. He is on our side when the attacks come against us.
One commentator says of these verses: ‘God’s ability to fight on behalf of His people made the Queen-mother of Scotland say that she more feared the prayers of John Knox than an army of thirty thousand
We learn that Psalm 76 was sung in thanksgiving services following the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1558.
Verses 4-6 The God who shines with majesty
The Psalmist compares this radiance with the grandeur of the mountains.
The Enduring Word commentary says: ‘you are more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey. Asaph thought of the beauty and the bounty of the mountain of prey, the places remote and wild enough to be home to wild animals. He knew that the LORD God was more glorious and excellent than these beautiful places.’
The reference to the battle could be the defeat of the Egyptians as they chased the Israelites across the Red Sea, only to be drowned as God brought the waters back again or the defeat of Sennacharib’s army- 2 Kings 19:35-36.
In both situations there were no weapons used and yet there was total victory because of God’s intervention.
God is majestic in creation and in His care of His people in the most challenging of circumstances.
Verses 7-9 The God who is to be feared
This is not the negative aspect of fear but rather an awe of our great God as we approach Him with reverence and honour.
No-one else is worthy - ‘you alone are to be feared.’
This fear factor is to remember that God gets angry because of our sins and He is the Judge, both on individuals and nations.
Within this it is important to remember that His judgments lead to salvation.
Verses 10-12 The God who is to be honoured
How wonderful to know that God’s wrath against us has led to our salvation as God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus at Calvary.Therefore we acknowledge God for His mercy and grace by giving Him the gift of our lives and our service.
He is the One who is sovereign over all the nations and one day ‘the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ.’
- - -