Psalm 75 is a song set to the tune of the Davidic Psalms 57-59 and was written by Asaph, a lead singer and musician in the time of David and Solomon. It begins with thanksgiving to their God who is near; thanksgiving based on His wonderous deeds and accomplishments. It shifts perspective from that of the people to that of God in which He declares His imminent righteous judgement. By His power He maintains the very pillars of the earth; by His righteousness He rebukes the prideful. God reminds the inhabitants of His good creation that it is He who lifts up and casts down, no other person can do this. No other person can deliver or judge rightly. The image of a cup foaming with bitter wine as a punishment brought on by evildoers is a contrast to its more traditional use depicting frivolity and joy. It ends with a promise and reminder that the wicked will be brought low and the righteous shall be exalted.
When I was growing up it seemed like there wasn’t a lot of big bad news going around all the time like there is today. In truth, I was simply inattentive then and overly connected now. It’s safe to say that at no other point in my life have I had more urgent news alerts on my phone that I cannot bear to look at than I do right now. Evil men and wicked women hurt and abuse and coerce and slaughter one another and it seems like there is no consequence for their action. It is infuriating to see so much pain and distress all over the earth, and as soon as I think it can’t get any worse, it invariably does.
It’s at times like these when I need to unplug the most. It’s at times like these I need to remember that things aren’t necessarily worse now than they were ten, twenty, or even two thousand years ago: it’s just the specifics that have changed. This world has been fallen for so long and I find myself groaning with the rest of creation for Jesus to show up and put an end to it all! That’s when I find comfort in the Psalms. The earth we live on has never been short of the murderous or greedy; the arrogant and deceitful. As it was, it is, and will continue to be. But that is where despair must be checked – for as longstanding as evil seems to be, the promises of God Almighty are infinitely stronger, infinitely greater, and last forever!
God has promised long, long ago to bring down the haughty, to lift up the crushed and broken, and have compassion on the poor and widowed. He has promised to wipe away every tear and do away with the proud once and for all! So many of the books of the New Testament are written to struggling churches, encouraging them to press on, look heavenward, and hold fast to the promises of Christ. We are in no less dire straits right here and right now. In fact, given the overwhelming flood of news and information, we are in more danger of being overwhelmed by the wickedness of the world today more than yesterday!
In what ways do you react to the state of the world as it is today? Do you shut down like me? Are you bitter like I can be? Do you find it all a bit hopeless like I do? I think any honest and sincere look at something as small as our own community to something as large as our continent will yield distress within us, especially when held up to the ideal put forward in Genesis. I would caution you, as I continually have to do myself, to be spurred on to pray instead of shutting down. Pray big prayers and pray them constantly. Prayer makes the difference, for in prayer we intercede for others and commit all things to God. Prayer is the natural antidote to despair, and prayer reminds us of the wealth of God’s promises from Genesis to Revelation.
Lord God, thank you for all the ways in which you work good and hope into such desperate times as these. We pray for soft hearts that will not become calloused or insensitive to the world around us. We pray for our hearts to break over what breaks yours. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear those who need your help today and help us to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in even the smallest way today. Help us to be a beacon on a hill, salt of the earth, and the light of the world, that all may see our good deeds and give glory to you, our Father in Heaven. Amen!
Song: Holy, Holy, Holy (Shane & Shane)
In 2024, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.