“Summaries, Psalms 75-78”Categories: Bulletin Articles
Psalm 75 praises God for the way that He brings order to His creation. He keeps the earth from tottering, and he rebukes the boastful and wicked. No one else but God can be relied on to judge righteously, and the wicked cannot escape drinking the cup of His wrath. In addition to bringing the wicked low, He will exalt the righteous.
Psalm 76 contrasts God’s power to the power of an earthly army. He took Jerusalem for His dwelling place, and there he broke an enemy army’s weapons and rendered its troops unable to fight. As a result, it is God, rather than they, who is to be feared. No one on earth can oppose Him. As a result, it is appropriate for mankind to worship Him because of the judgments He brings against even the rulers of the earth.
Psalm 77 expresses the psalmist’s confidence that God will hear him. His trouble is so great that he is practically fainting. At night, instead of sleeping, he finds himself asking whether God has abandoned him.
He finds the answer to the question in God’s past works. He has always worked wonders to deliver His people. In fact, His power and determination to save them are so great that He even parted the Red Sea to save them.
Psalm 78 explores the paradox of God’s faithfulness to Israel and Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him. The psalmist begins by explaining his purpose, which is to teach the children of God’s people about the stories of God’s power that the fathers taught him. Indeed, God established His law so that His people could hand that law down from generation to generation, so that they would not fall into the faithlessness of the Israelites of old.
The psalmist cites the Ephraimites as the foremost example of this faithlessness. They did not walk according to His will, despite the power He displayed in parting the Red Sea and giving them guidance and water in the wilderness. They doubted that He would be able to provide food for them too.
In response, God provided them with manna and quail, but their sin made Him angry, so that He struck down many of them as they ate. Nonetheless, they continued in sin, only repenting briefly when He punished them. However, He was merciful and did not destroy them altogether.
Their repeated sin was particularly offensive because of all that He had done to deliver them from Egypt. He struck down the Egyptians with a multitude of plagues, but He led His people safely to Canaan.
Even there, the Israelites continued to sin. They provoked God with their idolatry. As a result, God rejected Israel and abandoned His dwelling place at Shiloh, allowing His priests to be struck down. Instead of continuing to dwell among the Ephraimites, He selected Mount Zion in the midst of Judah, to be His new dwelling place, and the Judahite David to be the new king of His people.