Psalms 75, 76, & 77
In these psalms, we will see God as the impartial judge, a celebration of God’s victorious protection of the city of Jerusalem, and a loving remembrance of God’s past faithfulness in a time of trouble.
- 1-5: Thanks to God the impartial Judge
- 6-8: God exalts and He causes the wicked to drink His judgments
- 9-10: Promise to praise God for his righteous judgments
Verse 1 is a declaration by the Psalmist to give thanks to God and to declare His wondrous works. One of the reasons for doing this is because God’s name is near.
Verses 2-5 contain God’s declaration of His commitment to judging all with equity. Everyone stands before God on an equal plane and the earth and its occupants all “melt” before Him, but He also promises to prop up the earth and its occupants.
Definition: boastful: given to or characterized by boasting
Definition: boast: to speak in exaggerated or excessively proud terms of one’s possessions, skills, or superior qualities; brag
God has told the proud to not be boastful and told the wicked to not lift up the horn. Most of us understand what it means to be boastful.
I have to admit that there are times when I wonder if I’m being boastful by having this website. The goal of the website is not to make me famous but to point people to God and the salvation offered through His Son Jesus. Hopefully, He is honored by my efforts.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say about the phrase “lift up the horn”.
Lifting up… horns, a metaphor from the animal world, signifies a defiant, strutting, self-confidence.
This is the opposite of what God does when He raises up a horn of salvation in Luke 1:69 (Clarke) referring to the birth of Jesus as the Messiah. While the wicked in their pride is defiant toward God by raising a horn, in the Lord Jesus we have “a luminous, powerful, prevalent, glorious, and abundant Salvation or Refuge to mankind.”
In verses 6-8, we find the psalmist describing how exaltation or promotion doesn’t come from the east, west or south, but it is God who puts down or exalts and He has already prepared the “cup” they will drink – their judgments. This is similar to the cup that Jesus refers to in regard to His trial, punishment, crucifixion, death, and resurrection. A bitter cup indeed that He willingly drank to provide salvation for us and victory over sin and death.
Matthew 26:39 NASB And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”
Mark 14:36 NASB And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”
Luke 22:42 NASB saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
John 18:11 NASB So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”
The psalmist concludes in verses 9-10 that he will take up the cause of proclaiming the praises of God. For it is He who cuts off the horns of the wicked and lifts up the horns of the righteous.
- 1-3: God’s presence in Judah is seen in the protection of Jerusalem
- 4-7: God fulfills His prophecy concerning Assyria
- 8-10: God’s judgment is known in all the earth
- 11-12: Be faithful in keeping your vows to the Lord
The note in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible says this about the source of the psalm.
This psalm is entitled in the Septuagint, which is followed by the Vulgate and Apollinarius, “An ode against the Assyrian;” and it is considered by many of the best commentators to have been composed by Asaph after the defeat of Sennacherib.
Spurgeon points out that in verse 3 we see that God is able to defeat both offensive (arrows) and defensive (shield and sword) weapons of war.
Every weapon, offensive and defensive, the Lord dashed in pieces; death-bearing bolts and life-preserving armour were alike of no avail when the Breaker sent forth his word of power. In the spiritual conflicts of this and every age, the like will be seen; no weapon that is formed against the church shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against her in judgment she shall condemn. “Selah.” It is meet that we should dwell on so soul-stirring a theme, and give the Lord our grateful adoration, – hence a pause is inserted.
The corresponding sections in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles are found in chapters 18-19 and 32 respectively.
The material in  are added for clarification.
2 Kings 19:32-37 NASB [Isaiah is prophesying] ‘Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, “He will not come to this city or shoot an arrow there; and he will not come before it with a shield or throw up a siege ramp against it. 33 “By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he shall not come to this city,”‘ declares the LORD. 34 ‘For I will defend this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.'” 35 Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead. 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home, and lived at Nineveh. 37 It came about as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son became king in his place.
2 Chronicles 32:20-23 NASB But King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21 And the LORD sent an angel who destroyed every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned in shame to his own land. And when he had entered the temple of his god, some of his own children killed him there with the sword. 22 So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. 23 And many were bringing gifts to the LORD at Jerusalem and choice presents to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations thereafter.
What God says He will do! Therefore, what we vow to do to and for our God, we should do.
- 1-6 – Remembering God’s mighty deeds in times of trouble
- 7-10 – God does not change and will remember His people
- 11-15 – There is no god like our God, the God of Wonders
- 16-20 – God overcame every obstacle as He led the people through Moses and Aaron
Nelson’s notes that some believe this psalm was written during the time of the Babylonian exile. Based on the subject matter, it would make sense. Why wouldn’t an exiled people not reflect on the mighty deeds God has done in the past, all the while hoping that He would again show His might and His lovingkindness (7-10)?
When you find yourself in times of distress, do you reflect on how God has shown Himself strong on your behalf in the past and pray that He will show Himself strong again in your present circumstance, to the glory of His name?
“boastful.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 26 Jun. 2014. Dictionary.com .
“boasting.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 26 Jun. 2014. Dictionary.com .
Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Holy Bible. e-Sword, 1800s.
Smith, Jerome H. Nelson’s Cross-Reference Guide to the Bible: Illuminating God’s Word Verse-by-Verse. Thomas Nelson, 2007. Print.
Spurgeon, Charles H. The Treasury of David – An Expository and Devotional Commentary on the Psalms in 7 Volumes. e-Sword, 1885.
Walvoord, John, and Roy Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: Old & New Testament. Victor Books; e-Sword, 1983.