75:0The psalm tells us that God has done something good for his people. Many Bible students think that the good thing was this. God saved them from the King of Assyria. His name was Sennacherib. Assyria was a country north and east of Judah. Sennacherib fought against many places near Judah and won. But when he fought against the capital city of Judah, he did not win. The capital city was Jerusalem. The temple was in Jerusalem. God kept the temple and his people that lived near it safe. You can read the story in Isaiah chapters 36 and 37. About 100 years later God did not keep the temple and his people safe. You can read about this in Psalm 74.
There are three pictures in Psalm 75. The psalmist tells us three things in these pictures. He does this because he thinks that we will remember pictures better than words! The pictures are of earthquakes, horns and a cup of wine. What do they mean? You can read the notes to find out what each picture is about. But all three of them say one thing: God is our judge, not men.
Earthquakes, Horns and a Cup of Wine!
This is for the music leader.
He must use music called ‘Do Not Destroy.’
This is a Psalm of Asaph and a Song.
1 God, we thank you.
We really thank you because you are still near to us.
This is what the wonderful things that you have done tell us!
75:1Verses 1 and 9: All the people thank God for what he has done. Because he has given them help, it tells them that God is with them. The Hebrew Bible says, ‘Your name is near to us.’ This is one way that the Israelites said ‘You are near to us.’ God was where his name was! In verse 9, only the psalmist speaks. He will always talk about what God has done. The ‘God of Jacob’ means ‘God of the Israelites.’
2 God said: At the time that I will choose, I will be a fair judge.
75:2Verses 2, 6 and 7: Only God will be the judge, and he will be a fair judge. ‘At the time’, in verse 2, means ‘when God decides to be judge.’ This may be in the lives of people, or at the end when they die. If the psalm is about Sennacherib, then it was while he was alive. Later, when he died, God judged him again. In verse 6, we could translate ‘the mountains’ as ‘will lift up.’ They are the same word in Hebrew. Both are true. Nobody is a more important judge than God. It does not matter what direction they come from. And as verse 7 tells us, God ‘puts one person down and he lifts up another.’ This means that he says that one person is wrong (‘puts down’) and another person right (‘lifts up’).
3 When the earth shakes and everything in it is afraid,
I will stop its foundations moving.
75:3Earthquakes. An earthquake is when the ground moves. Buildings and trees fall over. Big holes appear in the ground. People and animals become very frightened. When Sennacherib came, the people felt as if they were in an earthquake. They were very much afraid. It was not a real earthquake, but they were just as frightened. God is speaking in verses 2-5 (and also verse 10). God says in verse 3 ‘In an earthquake I can stop the ground moving.’ This is a picture that tells us this. In a war, God can stop the fighting.
4 I say to the people that are boasting, ‘Do not boast.’
I say to the godless, ‘Do not lift up your horn.’
75:4Verses 4, 5 and 10: Horns. Many animals have horns on their heads. Cows, goats and deer are examples. The horns are bones that they fight with. The horns make them strong and powerful. So, in this psalm, horns are just a picture. The godless people (like Sennacherib) did not have horns on their heads! ‘Do not lift up your horn’ in verse 4 means ‘Do not show how strong you are.’ Maybe it also means ‘Do not fight.’ In verse 10 God says, ‘I will cut off the horns of the godless.’ This means that they will not be strong and powerful again. They will be like animals that have lost their horns. They cannot fight. But God's people, the righteous, will be strong and powerful. But they must wait for ‘the time that God will choose’, verse 1. ‘Push your neck up high’ in verse 5 means ‘Think you are more important.’
5 Do not lift your horn up high.
Do not push your neck up high when you speak.
6 For nobody
· from the east
· or from the west
· or from the desert in the south
· or from the mountains in the north
7 will be judge. Only God will be judge.
He puts one person down and he lifts up another person.
8 Because there is a cup in the Lord's hand.
It is full of wine, mixing with spice.
The Lord will pour it out from this cup.
All the godless people in the world will drink it.
They will drink the last bit of it.
75:8A cup of wine. Wine is a drink with alcohol in it. This wine has spices in it. They make it taste different. The wine is a picture of God punishing the godless. ‘Punish’ means ‘hurt someone because they have done wrong things.’ Drinking the wine, then, means ‘punishing people.’ ‘Drink the last bit’ means that God will punish these people completely. This verse is a picture of God judging his enemies.
9 But I will always talk about what God did.
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.
10 Because he says ‘I will cut off all the horns of the godless.
But I will lift up the horns of the righteous.’