Psalm 75 God Will Judge with Equity To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song. (1) We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds. (2) "At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. (3) When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah (4) I say to the boastful, 'Do not boast,' and to the wicked, 'Do not lift up your horn; (5) do not lift up your horn on high, or speak with haughty neck.'" (6) For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, (7) but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. (8) For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs. (9) But I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. (10) All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up. ESV
Psalm 75 is titled: Thanksgiving for God’s Righteous Judgment (NKJV), God Humbles the Proud, but Exalts the Righteous (NASB2020). Bible commentators title this psalm: Thanksgiving for God’s Wondrous Deeds (Calvin), God Abases the Proud; but He Exalts the Righteous (Coffman), The Righteous Judge Exalts and Brings Low (Guzik).
For the music director or choir director. Some believe this is dedicated to God Himself, as the Chief Musician. A song to be sung to the tune Do Not Destroy or Al-tashheth. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.
Psalm 57, 58, and 59 are all set to this tune, Al-tashheth, and written by David. Although some scholars have speculated that the Asaph of Psalm 75 is a “son of Asaph” or a “descendant of” the original Asaph. That idea would put Psalm 75 possibly during the time of king Hezekiah and an attack on Jerusalem by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, as recounted in 2 Kings 19.
However, that idea is not agreed upon. There is no indication in the psalm itself of a specific time period. Jewish tradition gives Psalm 75 its title and author; therefore, that is all we know with certainty. God has placed this psalm in His Book and gave us the tune it is to be sung to and the author, Asaph.
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near. Psalm 75:1 NKJV We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 75:1 NLT
Then, Psalm 75 becomes the voice of God. God is speaking to the psalmist. Verse one opens the song in praise and thanksgiving before God speaks. A reminder that God is near, that the people know His Name, and that they speak of His miracles and saving grace. This verse implies an active, present God in the lives of Asaph and the people of his time.
Is God active and present in your life? Call upon Him in thanksgiving and praise. Remember His faithfulness to you in the past. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).
"When I choose the proper time, I will judge uprightly. The earth and all its inhabitants are dissolved; I set up its pillars firmly. Selah Psalm 75:2-3 NKJV God says, "At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. When the earthquakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude Psalm 75:2-3 NLT
In Psalm 74, Asaph cried out to God: have you cast us off forever? How long will you wait, Lord? Do not forget us! God replies in this psalm, “When I choose the proper time . . .” “At the time I have planned, I will act . . .”
Does that bring you peace? In the midst of our fear and worry and our demand for the Lord to intervene, His calm response is, “I will . . . at the proper time, my child.”
God, the Father, set up the pillars of the earth and keeps the foundations firm. He set the sun and moon on their paths and the clock that is ticking for all of humanity. He knows the proper time.
We have merely to trust in Him.
If we were left to judge, we would respond quickly to anything that displeases us. God seems to let evil go unchecked for a time. Maybe it seems too long for our human understanding, but He has appointed a time. A proper time.
Selah/ Interlude. Let that all just sink in for a moment or two.
"I said to the boastful, 'Do not deal boastfully,' and to the wicked, 'Do not lift up the horn. Do not lift up your horn on high; do not speak with a stiff neck.'" Psalm 75:4-5 NKJV "I warned the proud, 'Stop your boasting!' I told the wicked, 'Don't raise your fists! Don't raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.'" Psalm 75:4-5 NLT
God warned His children. His commandments are clear. Stop being boastful and proud and arrogant. The “horn” is a reference to the horns or tusks being the strength of an animal. When the horns were raised, the animal was displaying its strength, preparing for an attack or to attack. When we “lift our horn up,” we make a declaration of strength in self. The “stiff neck” is a reference to oxen raising their heads and horns to avoid the yoke.
Jesus said as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel:
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:12 NIV
Would to God that all proud men would obey the word here given them; for, if they do not, he will take effectual means to secure obedience, and then woe will come upon them, such as shall break their horns and roll their glory in the mire forever.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down. Psalm 75:6-8 NKJV
Here is the reason to check our pride from the previous verses. Help comes from nowhere on earth, but only from the Lord. God lifts up the righteous in His time. God alone is to be praised. Our hope is in Him, not self.
This is what the LORD says: "Don't let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!" Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT
If we are to have pride and boast, may it be in the love and grace and mercy of God. The world teaches us to rely upon self, to take pride in our accomplishments, and to be proud of our strength of will. God wants us to be proud of ourselves and our accomplishments, but He wants us to be clear on one thing . . . that it all comes from Him. Mercy and grace and love and all good things come from the Father. It is in Him, that we must boast.
Hard work, good habits, persistence are all good things and contribute to success. But even these are gifts. Even these come from the Lord. Remember that.
“In the hand of the LORD there is a cup and the wine is red-” the cup of vengeance and judgment. There is a healthy dose of fear in loving the Lord, is there not? That cup is something we want nothing to do with. As believers, we should fear the wrath of the Lord. Before we take pride in our accomplishments, let us remember that God lifts one up, and He knocks down another. And in His hand, there is a cup . . .
The punishment of the wicked is prepared, God himself holds it in readiness; he has collected and concocted woes most dread, and in the chalice of his wrath he holds it. They scoffed his feast of love; they shall be dragged to his table of justice and made to drink their true dessert.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
But I will declare forever, I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. "All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted." Psalm 75:9-10 NKJV But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. For God says, "I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly." Psalm 75:9-10 NLT
Some boast in themselves, in their wealth or strength or intelligence. Some “stiff necks” raise their horns and their glasses to other gods- the god of self, the god of money, the god of the world.
“But as for me . . .”
And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15 NKJV
God will do all that He has promised, in His time, and with His good and perfect will. Here is our task:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 NIV
Father in heaven, thank you for your word. When we open and study your word, you reveal beautiful, life-giving truths of your love and faithfulness throughout time, now, and forever. Thank you for loving us and walking beside us. Give us strength today to do all that you ask of us. Amen.