Psalms 74, 75, 76
Psalms 74, 75, 76
Psalm 74 The word “Maskil” means “to give instruction”. The Hebrew can be translated either “for” Asaph, or ““of” Asaph; which may mean that it was composed “by” him, or “for” him, who was the leader of music in public worship in the days of the Temple. He was the chief musician in Solomon’s temple (2 Chronicles 5:12).
The introduction might denote simply that the psalm was composed for the one who, at the time, presided over the music. It likely was composed near the time of the captivity, and had reference to the destruction of the temple by the Chaldeans who brought Israel into captivity.
The writing could be applied either to the destruction of the temple in the time of the Babylonian invasion; or to the times of the Maccabees, and to the desolations brought on the land by Antiochus Epiphanes; The reason for this perspective is founded on what is said in Psalm 74:4-9, particularly Psalm 74:9, where it is stated that “there is no longer any prophet;” since Jeremiah Ezekiel and many other prophets were ministering to Israel in captivity.
The psalm consists of two parts: a prayer; and the reasons why the prayer is urged, and should be answered. In Psalm 74:1-3 we a prayer that God would remember Mount Zion, now made desolate, or in ruins. The reasons why the prayer is urged, Psalm 74:4-23 where we learn about the desolations which had come upon the city and that there was among the people calamity, with no prophet who could tell them how long this would continue, or to give them assurance that this judgment would ever end Psalm 74:9-11.
A reminder of what God had done for his people in former times when he delivered them from their enemies, Psalm 74:12-15. An acknowledgment that God rules over the earth, and has control of all things; day and night, light and darkness, summer and winter, are all under him, and are directed and controlled by him, Psalm 74:16-17.
And a prayer that God would not forget his own purpose for His people and remember that these attacks were attacks against his own name; that he would remember his own covenant; and have mercy and relieve the people that loved him, now poor and oppressed, who now desired to serve and praise him, Psalm 74:18-23.
In Psalm 75, we have a model prayer for God hearing, speaking, and acting “in His time.” He is sovereign. Once again this psalm is attributed to Asaph, the chief musician in Solomon’s temple (2 Chronicles 5:12). It is a “hymn of praise” which moves from our worship (Psalm 75:1), to God’s Word (Psalm 75:2-5), to our response (Psalm 75:6-9) and ends with God’s response (Psalm 75:10).
Psalm 75:1 begins with praise to God for His wondrous works. Perhaps it is in response to a miracle that God has wrought for His people similar in some way to Peter’s response in (Luke 5:8). With awe in our hearts we are ready to receive His Word. In this context God speaks and declares that He is sovereign, and we are subject to His agenda; He is not subject to ours.
As Jesus told the disciples: “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7). God declares Himself to be the just judge. When He is ready He will execute His disposition. In Psalm 75:3 He speaks of the final judgment when all will melt before Him (2 Peter 3:10).
This is followed by the recreation of all things, the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1). In light of the coming judgment, God addresses the “boastful” in verses Psalm 75:4-5. The reason for this warning is given in Psalm 75:10. The psalmist then meditates on the Word of God (Psalm 75:2-5), which he has received as he worships (Psalm 75:1).
Spiritual growth comes when we consider His Word. In that growth comes the understanding that God is the judge who puts down and exalts (Psalm 75:7). It is before Him that we stand or fall. He will judge the wicked and in response the Psalmist sings God’s praises. In Psalm 75:10 God has the last word. He will destroy the wicked but the horns, which is the might or power of the righteous, those who live in the covenant and who obey Torah, will be exalted. These are the mighty in the Lord (Daniel 12:2-3; Philippians 3:8-9).
Psalm 76 Most people have a hard time dealing with the wrath of God. It seems to make God into the devil. For others, God’s wrath projects a legalistic, “policeman” image, which keeps them in line and prohibits them from ever knowing God’s unconditional love.
For most, however, God’s wrath is a relic of the past, a medieval image from which they have been delivered. If they have any real belief at all, it is belief in a God who certainly loves all and, therefore, could punish none. In this Psalm, the living God is a God of power who has real enemies and who destroys them (Psalm 76:3-6).
He is to be feared because He gets angry (Psalm 76:7) and arises in judgment to deliver the oppressed (Psalm 76:9). Therefore, vows made to Him must be kept (Psalm 76:11). Otherwise, the rulers will only know His just retribution (Psalm 76:12). This psalm is also attributed to Asaph.
The Psalm moves from a confession of who God is (Psalm 75:1-2), to a prayer praising His power (Psalm 75:4-6), to a prayer praising His wrath (Psalm 75:7-9), and ends with a conclusion of confidence and warning (Psalm 75:10-12). Along with His relationships, God is also defined by His place. In “Salem” (Jerusalem, see Genesis 14:18) is His tabernacle, for He dwells there on Mount Zion (2 Samuel 6:17;Psalm 2:6). Finally, God is also defined by His works. It was in Jerusalem that He defeated His enemies.