A devotion on Psalm 76
1 God is renowned in Judah; in Israel his name is great.
2 His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion.
Judah and Israel are Old Testament references for God’s chosen people. It is not because they were a great people that God chose them. Indeed, they were paltry in many ways – in number, in morals, etc.
“For you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord was devoted to you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath He swore to your fathers, He brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant of loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.” Deut. 7:6-9
We see that he set his heart on little Israel as his chosen out of his grace and mercy and because of his love for and covenant with Abraham. He does the same with Christians and calls them Abraham’s children of promise.
“In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.”
Rom. 9:7, 8.
“As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him”
Rom. 10:7, 8.
God’s dwelling place, formerly in Judah and Israel, is now in your heart. Emmanuel has tabernacled with us and we are now the Salem and Zion. Remember your heart in this context is not your cardiac pump but your PAPDATE. Break that familiar (hopefully by now) acronym down and meditate on Christ taking residence and dominion in each of those aspects.
Scripture is replete with references of God as a mighty warrior. He is Jehovah Sabaoth – the Lord of hosts.
“The Lord is a warrior, the LORD is his name.”
“The LORD God of hosts [the God of Angel Armies], the one who touches the land so that it melts, and all who dwell in it mourn, and all of it rises up like the Nile and subsides like the Nile of Egypt”
Look at this beautiful Christophany (earthly appearance of Christ before he was incarnate) where Jesus met Joshua.
“He said, “no, rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.” and Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “what has my Lord to say to his servant?”
Revel in this heart-warming reference of God as a loving warrior:
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exalt over you with joy, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17.
And my personal favorite:
“But the Lord is with me like a dread champion (mighty warrior)…”
Why did he break the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords, the weapons of war referenced in our chapter today? He did so in keeping with his promise that
“No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.”
4 You are radiant with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game.
5 The valiant lie plundered, they sleep their last sleep; not one of the warriors can lift his hands.
6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob, both horse and chariot lie still.
What a sight! He who has always plundered and looted will be plundered and looted – with no breath left – by the time God is done with him. This prophetic statement is far from fulfilled today where the wicked prosper and trample the weak. But rest assured that God will avenge them.
He will shatter their teeth in their mouths and tear out the fangs of those lions Ps. 58:6.
7 It is you alone who are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry?
8 From heaven you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet—
9 when you, God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land.
10 Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.
Fear God and you will have nothing else to fear. Scripture is replete with admonitions (Zahar) to fear God and with promises for those who do:
“The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” Proverbs 19:23
“The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be shortened. Proverbs 10:27
(The word life in the verses above is translated chay in the Hebrew and is the base for the term Chayil for energy or life force from our previous devotion https://tribalminded.com/2021/08/27/the-key-to-your-chayil/.)
“How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways.” Psalm 128:1.
“So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.” Deut. 6:24.
“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you have wrought for those who take refuge in you, before the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19a
“The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord, are riches, honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4.
11 Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them; let all the neighboring lands bring gifts to the One to be feared.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers; he is feared by the kings of the earth.
God invites us to make vows to him. I suspect that the most popular ones we make are foxhole vows – those made when we are in trouble and promise God that if he rescues us, we shall do such and such. Our vows are to be made from a heart that fears him. Hannah and her promise to give Samuel to God is an excellent example of a vow. What other biblical vows did people make to God?
We are also invited to bring him gifts. When do we bring gifts to people? We bring these offerings when we celebrate them, e.g. birthdays; as a token when they host us; to thank them for their goodness, etc. We should do the same for God. What kinds of gifts does he like? It behooves you to know the recipient of your gifts and what they appreciate. God is clear about his favorite:
“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And opens the door that I might show him the salvation of God.”
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And tell of His works with joyful singing.”
“Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You.
For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling,
So that I may walk before God In the light of the living.”
Ps. 56:12, 13.
This is God’s will for you!
This chapter is a victory song, of how the Lord fought for the Israelites overnight whilst all people where sleeping, making reference to the confrontation between Israel and Sennacherib the king of Assyria, in 2 Kings 19:35: ” And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000; and when people arose early in the morning there were corpses -all dead.”