christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

psalm 76

Read Psalm 76 at Bible Gateway.

Psa 76 might form a chiastic structure. But this morning I was struck with how its theme is almost an exact mirror of Psa 75. Repetition is a teaching tool of Scripture!

Psa 75 and 76

Psa 75:1-10
1) Psa 75:1, We give thanks to You O God, for Your wondrous works declare Your name is near;
2) Psa 75:2-3, I will judge uprightly at the proper time;
3) Psa 75:4-5, I said to the wicked, Do not lift up your horn on high;
4) Psa 75:6-7, God is the Judge who puts down one and exalts another;
5) Psa 75:8, For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, all the wicked shall drain and drink it down;
6) Psa 75:9, I will declare forever, and sing praises to the God of Jacob;
7) Psa 75:10, All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

Psa 76:1-12
1) Psa 76:1-2, In Judah God is known, His name is great in Israel;
2) Psa 76:3-4, He broke the arrows of the bow, the shield and sword of battle;
3) Psa 76:5-6, The stouthearted and mighty are plundered at Your rebuke, O God of Jacob;
4) Psa 76:7-9, You caused judgment to be heard from heaven;
5) Psa 76:10, The wrath of man shall praise You, with the remainder of wrath You shall gird yourself;
6) Psa 76:11, Make vows to the LORD and pay them, bring presents to Him who ought to be feared;
7) Psa 76:12, He shall cut off the spirit of princes, He is awesome to the kings of the earth.

The 1st element shows that God’s name becomes known by His wondrous works. Well, doesn’t the Lord say the same thing to Moses when He first sent him to Pharaoh? Pharaoh mockingly tells Moses that He does not know YHVH, so YHVH promises to reveal to Pharaoh who He is — what His name means. And then ten plagues follow – wondrous works – which plague those who do not fear Him, but pours out mercy on those who fear Him. (Read the first twelve chapters of Exodus all in one sitting to help get the big picture. In other words, YHVH means, Judge, Deliverer, Savior, Redeemer, Releaser from Slavery, Upholder of Promises.)

The 2nd element shows that judgment is reserved for its time. Now we think of judgment as something terrible. I suppose it is terrible to those who shake their fist in His face. But what will happen when His judgment finally comes? The arrows of the bow will be broken, along with the shield and sword of battle. He will bring peace, in other words. Wars and oppression will cease. Those who are His, who long for peace, will find great reason to REJOICE in His judgment, which will break the bows, shields, and swords of the wicked war mongers!

The 3rd element lumps the boastful and wicked, who lift up their own horn in defiance of the Lord God, with the stouthearted and mighty of the earth. I think these must be those who use their superior power to oppress and enforce their tyrannical will upon others who do not have the ability to resist them. They force their own citizens and other nations to accept their rule, and they enforce their will by might of arms. The 3rd element warns them to not have a stiff neck, and to submit to the God of Jacob. If they will not, He will rebuke them. At His rebuke, all of the mighty men will lose the use of their hands. That is a metaphor for fear and terror of Him so gripping their hearts so that their hands become nerveless and they can no longer hold their weapons.

The 4th element reveals God as the upright Judge who causes His judgment to be heard from heaven.

The 5th element is about the cup of God’s wrath that is being mixed for the wicked to drink down to its dregs. His wrath will be a fearsome and terrible thing for the wicked, because it will force them to cease and desist their boasting, wickedness, and oppression. But for the righteous, it will bring joy, because it will cause peace and justice to reign on the earth!

The 6th element reveals that after His wrath is finished, men’s declarations and vows will be made of the Lord and to the Lord; men will bring Him praise and gifts.

The 7th element reveals that it is the authority and power of the wicked who will be cut off. So if the spirit of princes is cut off, perhaps it is because those princes ruled unjustly, by lording it over instead of ruling in the way that God rules, which is by serving.

I am amazed at what a book of prophetic wisdom the Psalms are turning out to be! When someone wants to study eschatology, they turn to Daniel or Revelation first, but I am finding a wealth of truth right here!


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