Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapters 75-77

Psalm 75

To the chief Musician, Altaschith, A Psalm or Song of Aspah.

1Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
2When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.
3The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.
4I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:
5Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.
6For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
7But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
8For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.
9But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

10All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

Psalm 76

To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song of Aspah.

1In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel.
2In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.
3There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.
4Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.
5The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.
6At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep.
7Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?
8Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,
9When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.
10Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
11Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.

12He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.

Psalm 77

To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of Asaph.

1I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
2In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
3I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
4Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
6I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
7Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
8Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?
9Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
10And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
11I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
12I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
13Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
14Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.
15Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
16The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.
17The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.
18The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
19Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

20Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Chapter 75

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "We often pray for mercy, when in pursuit of it; and shall we only once or twice give thanks, when we obtain it? God shows that he is nigh to us in what we call upon him for." That relates to my darkest moment because in a way, I did ask for mercy and at the end of it all, I thanked Him for helping me out. That last part is profound, about God's closeness to us. I'd say that that was another way in which God worked during my darkest moment. In verse 2, according to Bullinger, "I shall receive the congregation" can mean "the set time has come." I look forward to God's judgment not only for myself but also for my fellow Christians. Those who will have truly lived for Him and followed Him will receive judgment according to those things, which means to me that even though I may stumble and fall, I can still get back up and still follow Christ. As long as I'm loyal and obedient to Him and do His will, I'm OK. I'm thankful that God doesn't grade on a curve like some teachers do. I'd hate for it to go like this: "OK, James, you'll either get an A or a D. Let Me judge you first." If it was like that, I'd probably turn away from God because I wouldn't think of Him as being just. I'm not sure if I could relate to verses 3-5, but I do know that they are dealing with God's attitude toward the wicked. I think I'll just include Henry's comments, "He who is made of God to us wisdom, bids us be wise. To the proud, daring sinners he says, Boast not of your power, persist not in contempt. All the present hopes and future happiness of the human race spring from the Son of God." I trust God's judgment (vv. 6-7) since it comes from Him and I know that since I will have followed hard after Him, He'll lftt me up. I look forward to that moment. Here's Henry's comment on verse 8, "There are mixtures of mercy and grace in the cup of affliction, when it is put into the hands of God's people; mixtures of the curse, when it is put into the hands of the wicked. God's people have their share in common calamities, but the dregs of the cup are for the wicked." His mercy and grace are great things which I couldn't live without out. I praise Him for those things (v. 9), especially since no man has as much grace and mercy as He does. I feel that my horns or spiritual strength were exalted during my darkest moment since I came out of it spiritually stronger. I look forward to that day in which my horns will be exalted, which I suppose will be part of God's judgment.

Chapter 76

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verses by stating the following, "Happy people are those who have their land filled with the knowledge of God! happy persons that have their hearts filled with that knowledge! It is the glory and happiness of a people to have God among them by his ordinances." If only the US was filled with the knowledge of God. I suppose if that was the case, though, prophecy would play out a bit differently and perhaps Obama wouldn't be president. Yeah, I went there. I am happy, though, that I have my heart filled with God and being able to have a relationship with Him. "More glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey" (v. 4) means to me that God is more wonderful than His creation. Now, I don't hunt, but even if I did, I imagine that I would praise Him over animals in the mountains any day. I'm not sure if I can relate to verses 5-6, but here's Henry's thoughts on them, "Wherein the enemies of the church deal proudly, it will appear that God is above them. See the power of God's rebukes. With pleasure may Christians apply this to the advantages bestowed by the Redeemer." He pretty much said it, I think. Henry's comments on verses 7-10, "God's people are the meek of the earth, the quiet in the land, that suffer wrong, but do none. The righteous God seems to keep silence long, yet, sooner or later, he will make judgment to be heard. We live in an angry, provoking world; we often feel much, and are apt to fear more, from the wrath of man." I only fear God because man is not perfect and man cannot compensate for a relationship with God. I've suffered wrong before, such as that run-in with that guy from my math class, which is how the meek aspect fits in. I try to be meek, which isn't usually a hard thing to do since I've been a Christian for so long and I tend not to boast about my accomplishments. That and I try not to let my vengeful feelings get the best of me when someone's done something to me. Meekness, simply put, is power under control and although someone may call me vulgar names, for example, I'll let God take care of it and not get back at the person. Sometimes giving control over to God is all He requires of me since He's the One who vengeance belongs to. I imagine He also likes it when I give control over to Him by being meek. I'm not sure how I would relate to verse 10, but I know that if I make a promise to Him, I should honor and keep it (v. 11). I suppose I made a vow to Him when I accepted His Son into my life and decided to live for Him. That's all I can really think of for that verse. Henry sums up the rest of the chapter pretty well, "He shall cut off the spirit of princes; he shall slip it off easily, as we slip off a flower from the stalk, or a bunch of grapes from the vine; so the word signifies. He can dispirit the most daring: since there is no contending with God, it is our wisdom, as it is our duty, to submit to him. Let us seek his favour as our portion, and commit all our concerns to him."

Chapter 77

I'd say that the first four verses relate to my darkest moment since I did cry out to God (v. 1), particularly in my day of trouble (v. 2). Henry's comment on verse 3, "When he remembered God, it was only the Divine justice and wrath. His spirit was overwhelmed, and sank under the load." My spirit was overwhelmed during my darkest moment since the enemy was trying to get me to give into him, which was too powerful for me to handle on my own. Since I wanted Him to act, I had a hard time sleeping (v. 4). God's response, I feel, was immediate even though it didn't seem like it was at the time. He let me know when He was helping me when He saw fit -- I just let Him work because I figued He was at work even though I couldn't see it. I'm not sure if I can relate to verses 5-6, but I don't have to worry about Him cutting me off (v. 7). I don't question His mercy, His lovingkindness (v. 8) because I know it lasts forever. No man can provide those things in the way that He does since man is imperfect and not always willing to forgive. His promises don't fail, which is another reason why I can rely on Him. For example, He promises eternal life and man doesn't. He did not forget to be gracious to me during my darkest moment (v. 9), which resulted in me remembering Him and the time I've known Him for (v. 10). In a way, I did turn away from Him and remembered that I had a relationship with Him but I wasn't honoring my part.

Henry's comments on verses 11-13, "The remembrance of the works of God, will be a powerful remedy against distrust of his promise and goodness; for he is God, and changes not. God's way is in the sanctuary. We are sure that God is holy in all his works." I can't say I distrust God's promises, but Henry hasa good point nonetheless. I tryt and remember the good things He's done in my life (v. 11) and praise Him for them. Perhaps I could do a bit more of that, which also also applies to verse 12. I find happiness and peace in God's sanctuary (v. 13) or rather His presence. I talked earlier about the Holy Spirit's touch during communion time, which is quite a thing to expereience as a reminder that He loves me and wants me to be happy and peaceful. Since there is no god that is greater than Him, I am reminded of that worship song Our God is Greater, which pretty much speaks for itself. He does wonderful things, yes (v. 14), and I feel that His strength was declared among me when He helped me out during my darkest moment and helped me to overcome the enemy, which was how He redeemed me (v. 15). Here's Henry's thoughts on the last few verses, "God's ways are like the deep waters, which cannot be fathomed; like the way of a ship, which cannot be tracked. God brought Israel out of Egypt. This was typical of the great redemption to be wrought out in the fulness of time, both by price and power. If we have harboured doubtful thoughts, we should, without delay, turn our minds to meditate on that God, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, that with him, he might freely give us all things." I tend not to have doubtful thoughts -- ones that could affect my relationship with God -- but when I do, I turn to Him. A while back, when I thought, I would often use profanity in my thoughts, which I didn't really like. I'm not sure what caused that, but I did ask God to take it away and He did, which made it so things wouldn't get worse. It's as if my throughts were the waters (v. 16) and saw God and were afraid. His voice of thunder came down (v. 18) and took that hindrance away. Verse 19 applies because God used His way to take care of problem even though I was not about to see His footsteps. In a way, it was a matter of faith because He wanted me to do my part by trusting that He would make it so I wouldn't have those thoughts -- or rather by taking them away. I am thankful that He freed me from those thoughts because it's easier to think clearly, especially when I talk to Him.

                                             Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 75". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 76". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 77". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>.

Bullinger, E.W. The Companion Bible.

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