It is interesting how a Christian’s study of the Psalms probably differs from a man that read them during the Old Testament period. For example, in Psalm 75:1 the writer wrote, “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, for Your name is near; men declare Your wondrous works.” For a Jew of the Old Testament, the “name” referred to the covenant name that God had given the Jewish people. That name is often translated in newer translations as “the Lord God”. In older translations it was translated Jehovah.
However, when a Christian thinks about the Name of God, two names come to mind. First is “Father” and the second is “Jesus Christ”. Both names show that a much closer relationship is now available to all people. The name “Father” indicates the close family relationship that CAN exist between a person and God. Jesus Christ is the very picture of pure love and sacrifice for all people. Jesus Christ was not only the sacrifice, but He also is an advocate before the Father on behalf of all Christians.
Too often, the great blessing that those two names reflect are taken for granted today. But in the ancient world, it was something that was greeted with great joy and rejoicing by many people. The terrible irony is that so many people in this country today are actively searching for “something” that will bring them peace and hope. But they won’t accept the invitation of God, because it has to be something more complicated or mysterious.
Christians look back to the days described in Acts and often wish that people could be as responsive today as they were then. Well, in many so-called “primitive” parts of the world, people still do rejoice when they first hear about the loving relationship that all can have in Jesus Christ. It makes one wonder what makes a culture “advanced” and “primitive”!
Verse two of the psalm also holds great significance for the Christian, “When I select an appointed time, it is I who judge with equity.” For the Jews, God’s help was remembered in the great act that occurred at the Red Sea when the people were taken out of bondage. Throughout their history God’s help was seen in the various ways that the people were saved from their many enemies. When the Nation of Israel fell away, they also felt the wrath and judgment of God.
However, for the Christian, the real appointed time was when Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, and was resurrected. In the fullness of time, Jesus came and the world was changed forever. With Jesus Christ, the basic problem, of sin was finally, and forever, resolved. Because of that historical event, salvation is open for all people who will accept the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ.
In verses 4 through 8, the psalmist addressed those that refused to follow the will and instruction of the Lord God. “I said to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn; do not lift up your horn on high, do not speak with insolent pride.’ For not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert comes exaltation; but God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another. For a cup is in the hand of the LORD, and the wine foams; it is well mixed, and He pours out of this; surely all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs.”
In verse 7, his message was simple, “But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.” No matter how strong, ruthless, rich, or powerful a man may be in this world, the real destiny of each and every person will be decided by God. Therefore, there can. be no boasting, or arrogance, or exalting, because everyone will eventually bow down before the authority and glory of the Lord.
In verse 9, the psalmist began his statement by saying, “But as for me…”. That kind of attitude was critical then, and it is critical today. Faithfulness before the Lord will not often be a majority opinion among people. Frequently, popular attitudes and opinions will be against what the Lord requires. However, right and wrong has never been determined by majority vote. Look at Noah. Except for Noah and his family, the world was destroyed because they would not follow the Lord. Today, the pressure is great to follow this way or that way. But the true Way is found in the Will and Word of God. The Psalmist knew that, and all Christians would do well to remember that every day of their lives. <James Shelburn>