Holy God, I praise You that You are both mighty and loving.
Read 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.
3 There he broke the flashing arrows,
the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.
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.
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.
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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn what ways is God “good” but not “safe”?
Like Psalms 46 and 48, this psalm celebrates God’s protective presence in Zion, the city and the Temple where he lives among his people (2) and from where he acts on their behalf (3). He is the great warrior God, before whom no one can stand, who destroys his enemies and saves “all the afflicted of the land” (9).
One of the key words in the psalm is “fear,” referring to a deep awe of God. Look at how the word is used in verses 7, 8, 11 and 12. “Fear” has positive and negative outcomes—positive for those willing to submit to God, negative for those opposed to God. God’s wrath results in judgment (10), but it’s a saving judgment that puts things right for the afflicted and restrains evildoers.
As with many psalms, a specific historical act of deliverance is made more generally applicable so that subsequent generations of God’s people—like us—can take the words on our own lips in thankfulness for God’s rescue of us. So, when verse 11 calls the people to make their vows to the Lord, we too are encouraged to make good on our promises to serve him.
Where have you seen God’s protection and blessing in your life so far? What can you praise him for already?
Awesome God, show me what it means to “fear the Lord” in reverence.
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