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Our God Reigns

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
December 27, 2021 7:00 am

Our God Reigns

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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December 27, 2021 7:00 am

No matter what storms and trials enter our lives, as Christians we believe that sooner or later, things will be made right. In Psalm 75, the Psalmist no longer expresses fear and anxiety over Israel’s future and the plight of the God’s people. Instead, he exhibits a quiet confidence that, in God’s perfect plan, things will be made right.

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No matter what storms and trials enter our lives. We as Christians believe that sooner or later things will be made right in Psalm 75.

The psalmist no longer expresses fear and anxiety over Israel's future and the plight of God's people. Instead, he exhibits a quiet confidence that in God's perfect plan things will be made right.

Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically. God, your name is near.

That phrase sums up the reason for the psalmist's confidence. We serve a sovereign God who is totally in charge of his universe and yet walks with us in our daily lives trying to Psalm 75 and joined Dr. Boyce as he explores how Asaph can say with confidence. I will sing praise to the God of Jacob because the horns of the righteous will be lifted up like were going to study Psalm 75, but I like to begin by reminding you of what we were finding when we studied Psalm 73 member that Solomon was the first of these great Psalm blasts off which he began by expressing a problem and the problem that he saw was this the wicked prosper. I always seem to do better than the righteous. Not only do they do better than the righteous righteous anger suffer massive says and that Psalm is that when a look at that Solomon was so he was envious of the wicked, and that's when his feet began to slip. It wasn't until he went into the temple of God and recognize the end of the way get the judgment certainly is going to calm that he regained his footing, is able to get the kind of testimony that we find in the small now. Psalm 75 is also a song of faith in God's just rule and judgment and approaches the subject from an entirely different point of view, questioning in the Psalm chafing Scrabble no envy psalmist is well aware that there are problems with God's actions in history is justice does indeed see that the wicked got away with it for an awful long time and sometimes righteous don't seem to get what they are due. But you don't have any of that kind of unhappiness, worrying chafing envying with that problem that you find in Psalm 73. What you have in Psalm 75 is a quiet confidence that the righteous will indeed in time be lifted up and that the wicked will be brought down psalmist doesn't know when that's going to be particularly doesn't even raise the question that happened in this life.

I don't know what happened in life, I don't know what is going to happen. And the reason is going to happen is that God reigns got a sovereign God rules in his creation is a moral God and therefore the Psalm is very confident that sooner or later all these things are going to be sorted out now and developing that theme. We have a parallel here to what we find two other very well known portions of the word of God when is a song when she presented her son Samuel Eli at the temple recall signing a song on that occasion.

Assault really is and first amulets second chapter takes 10 verses want to read it all to give you a bit of this woman's singing said do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance for the Lord is a God who knows by him.

He's our way. Lord brings death makes a line he brings down to the grave and he raises up Lord sends poverty and wealth. He fumbles and he exalts the foundations of the earth or the Lords upon them is that world so many parallels in language and phraseology between that's on them, and Psalm $75 think that passive probably borrowed some of the language from Anna's song maybe the other very well known parallel to Psalm 75 is Mary's great Magnificat that you find in Luke one were more familiar with that.

I don't want to read it all. But again, Mary said in the context of that great hymn of praise to God. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm is scattered those who are proud of their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but is lifted up a humble. He has filled the hungry with good things. The theme of both of those songs as well as Psalm 75 is a God is raining taking his hands off the universe is very knows what's going on is in charge. Therefore, he does exalt the humble and he does a basically arrogant Psalm 71 if we 75.

We want to link it up on the goes immediately before it is linked up something like this in Psalm 74 passive ask God to rise up and defend his cause and not ignore the arrogance of his adversary. Now here in Psalm 75.

The psalmist assures us that God normally does that. But he will about the outline outlines often very helpful in getting us into the Psalm. I want to suggest below is handled in different ways by commentators that there is no better outline than the one you have. According to the stanza divisions of the new international version 4 stanzas you notice that one. As it stands all by itself and you have to through 54 stanzas four through eight, and finally 910 I go to remember that if you look at it this way. Recognizing that in each of the stanzas you have a different person or group of persons speaking stanza one verse one is a stanza in which the congregation speaks is the plural. We give thanks to you. We give thanks so so here's the congregation joining and giving thanks to God. In the second stanza, God speaks was introduced by the words you say so is a sense in which the psalmist is actually writing here about what he does at that point is quote.you is God and then the quotation begins.

I choose the appointed time it I judge, and so forth. So the second stanza, God is speaking in the third stanza, verses six through eight.

Not quite as clear speaking but actually it's the Psalm as we might want to say the priest or the preacher varies commenting upon the revelation that God is given in the second stanza and then finally get to the last stanza verses nine and 10 and what you have, there is the testimony of the individual worship at this point, you see the we have in stanza one becomes. I find it three times, twice in verse nine and the final time in verse 10.

As for me, says the individual I will declare this forever I will sing praise to God of Jacob, so I want to look at me when look at each of those four stanzas, and the one here is the congregation giving thanks to God. Now it's natural for God's people to get implants sympathetic courses that are many many things we need to give God thanks for sometimes in our prayers.

We do that we list the whole long list of things that we're thankful for, but here in this particular Psalm, the psalmist is making a long list of things that he wants to thank God for only one thing, but he really mentions and that is what he says in the in the middle line there. We give thanks because that's the meaning of the word for because your name is near.

The name stands for God himself what that phrase your name is near really means is this you are dear is God's nearness with their thinking is not me. Is it mean to say that God is near.

Well, that has a variety of meaning.

One thing it could mean is that God is everywhere, God is omnipresent he is in every corner of his universe. He knows everything that's going on and if that's what it means. Well then that phrase is a warning to the ungodly, about which the Psalm is going to speak way of telling the wicked don't think that you're going to get away with it because God sees it is everywhere, is always near at hand cycling a good maintenance that the Lord is always near the righteous when they need just around the corner, as it were in a wrapped look very far from God is right there and if that's the case well and this is a word of encouragement where raising your God because you're always near at hand whenever we need you. You're right there.

Well, that may be very well what the psalmist is saying that I think in the context because this is going on to talk about the judgment of God. I think in the context near probably means is that God is in charge of his universe as he hasn't turned his back on his right here he's working so that what happens in the universe as a result of what we call most commonly the sovereignty of God is in control reason I think that is not only because it goes on to speak about the judgment and justice of God because of the line that follows immediately after the words your name is near as men tell of your wonderful deeds. That's a way of saying is that God hasn't simply set the universe in motion. God is actually active in the universe and active in history, and so we can talk about what he is doing all the time we sing hymn that expresses that pretty well and I think we know it. Although we don't know the author's name is Matt B Babcock wrote to him in 1901 but it's this particular him.

This is my father's world all let me never forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong. God is the ruler yet.

This is my father's world.

The battle is not on Jesus who died shall be satisfied in heaven and earth. One for the first stanzas we know that we know the gods and try to wonder if you know that you really know the gods in charge.

These near at hand. That is not abandoned universe and that is not abandon you if you see if you know that if you really have personal awareness of the presence and sovereignty of God is to change the way you look at everything and so instead of worrying about what's coming tomorrow you'll be trusting God instead of chafing under the present circumstances disable these things of been sent to me by God. Therefore purpose. He knows what he's doing and instead of trying to get out of every situation you find yourself in you be trying to say what can I do in this situation that would actually glorify God. You know that God is near your you be thanking them for it and you'll be living that way, day by day. Now the second stanza, as I say, contains the words of God is not entirely clear from the Hebrew where the words it should be attributed to God. Start where they break off, but I think that new international version is not the best job that could be done as well as anybody you say they begin the quotation mark in verse two and they ended at the end of verse five. These four verses themselves actually fall into two parts, because in the first part, God is speaking to the righteous and these words concerning the nature of his judgments fact that they, the appointed time and then in the next two verses. Verses four and five, he addresses the wicked and what God does. There is warn them about their evil action. Let's look at the first of all his assurance to the upright.

As I said, there's nothing in this Psalm that betrays turmoil on behalf of the psalmist is not unhappy and chafing because he sees what could go on. It is gone unchecked, but even though that is the question nevertheless is in his mind what is going doing and why does evil seem to go on for such a long time and you often asked to see terrible situations in the world is a why does God permit that that's a question that he's asking here. The important answer that God gives is that he himself chooses the appointed time in which to judge you say is that an answer answer is yes, that is, an answer is a very good answer because what that really means is that it's in the hand of God and of God whose hand would begin after all what I have in your hands if you and I had the matter of executing judgment in our hands. I'm afraid we make an awful mess up. We would tolerate all the wrong things and then we would see something that particularly offends last week let go of God would would not come down that would be on the wrong thing to say. I recall two people in Britain talking years ago the true story at the time when Hitler was sending over the bombs on London and one man was so upset at what I was doing. He said all I wish I could be God for just 10 minutes and the other man said to me was a Christian.

He said God for 10 minutes. I would want to be in your universe for 10 seconds because you say we would get all black, but here is God speaking in God says no judgment is coming.

I'm the judge and I'm a righteous judge, but I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it my own time. Well I raise another question doesn't do it in his own time and times and yet is delaying it. Why is he you say you can ask that an arrogant why you don't have any right to ask a challenging the wisdom of Almighty God. That's not the way to ask the question, but you also ask it in the right way you can say God I don't understand any evil is really bad. People are really hurt you care. I know you care.

Why is it that you want to go on so long.

The Bible gives us answers to that. This is two answers to that. Actually, one of them is a God allows the wicked to continue for a long long time. In order to give them an opportunity to repent all says that in the book of Romans is very clear about it.

You think that you will escape God's judgment. He asked the second chapter verse four. Do you show contempt, the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance say if you haven't yet come to Jesus Christ, you better be very very thankful that the appointed time is not yet come time of the final judgment will come.

But in the meantime, God extends mercy of the people have an opportunity to repent and come to Jesus your lot in Christ. Now's the time to do it.

Don't wait because judgment will come eventually. The second reason for God's judgments is a little harder to talk about because it's so far from the way we think.

We don't have any trouble with the idea that God suspends his judgments to give us a chance.

We take almost as I do, although of course we don't deserve anything but the second answer is this God delays his judgments so that evil might come to full fruition work itself out to the full reason I say that's an answer is because it's very clear in Scripture. You may recall, God's words to Abraham way back in the book of Genesis where he gives that prophecy of what is going to come in future years.

He says your own people are going to multiply the going to be a large nation are going to be in a foreign land. Egypt is referred to in there. They're going to be imprisoned for 400 years and after that they're going to come into the land that I promised you back here then God gives the explanation for the 400 years, because God said the sin of the Amorites is not yet reached its full measure was not ready for judgment, yet that was going to come. I'm allowing the sin to work itself out until my own time. I'm going to judge it when it comes to full measure is a parallel to that what God did with Pharaoh member how God said of Pharaoh for this very because I raised you up in order that I might show my justice of my power in the earth as I say that's harder for us to understand. We got a great cosmic drama going on here, in which the world and its sin is rushing to destruction God is allowing it to go. While that is happening. God is calling other people to himself and establish the human's way you said yourself, why does not allow all that wickedness to go on unchecked. The answer is because God was to show the full nature of wickedness and why only deserves the judgment that will come say when we start on a path we don't think is particularly bad, but sin is bad people and so God says that is why the appointed time has not come yet on the second two verses of this section, verses four and five because his warning to the arrogant and it's that they might repent. In other words thing I just said a moment ago.

Here, the arrogant are warned against boasting post no more. It says on the wicked are warned not to lift up their horns against heaven or speak with outstretched next on the horn. What an animal had suggested naturally the center of its power and strength pull straight thing in the horn and so that became a biblical image for strength or power so it says start with your strength against God are equivalent to that particular image would be shaking your fist in God's face says it is the puny little man stop shaking your fist in God's place as far as this matter outstretched neck is concerned that self-explanatory somebody the veins in the neck are protruding in the neck is putting Courtney is angry against God. God is saying that it was more ridiculous than that you being angry against me.

Was I going to get you say what you need to do is repent of your sin, so that the second stanza. Now you would think that God's assurances to the righteous in his warnings to the wicked would be sufficient in themselves and perhaps they are, but what we find here in this third stanza is something that I've often noticed in church circles and that is that for some reason. Preachers always want to have the last word.

Even with God. I sometimes notice what I have been preaching in certain kinds of churches when I get to the end of what I thought was a very well delivered sermon building to a climax reaching an emotional appeal calling for a decision. I closing prayer. I sit down and the host preacher stands up he was in a few words directly. God is good as the words of the people are just tired.

I always takes off the edge, but reason preachers have a tendency to do that and that's the sort of thing that we have here is to make errors, accept this almost whatever this particular asset may be God is just spoken. But now with the preachers true, not forgetting, in the last word. He wants to apply what God is sent and he does it in two ways. The pointing out particularly to the righteous that whenever a person is lifted up or brought down as God doesn't so he wants make sure we understand that in any also assures the wicked that God means what he says. God says there's an appointed time for judgment and it's falling lift up your head against it.

Well you better listen to that because judgment is certainly going to come by say this first point seems mostly to do with the righteous. That is when a person is lifted off or brought down its product does its way of saying that you should not if you're a Christian look to the world for your advancement people spent a lifetime trying to cozy up to the people that they think are important because I think I can make friends with somebody is really important, bring me along to see him and I get into a good position because I'm in their favor people to Dunlap and try to make a career but no really devastating. I can be because most people's only care about themselves. Don't use people but then when they get where they want to build often go right ahead with somebody else.

But this almost a psychosis. Don't do that that human beings for your advancement to God. Trust God, God will advance you as high as you dare be advanced. One of us would be far more important are far more important positions of God to trust us in those positions really doesn't do it as we mess all up. We were there as useful as we convey what the psalmist is saying here is stop looking other human beings look and live for God alone in this second point of application where he speaking to the wicked. He doesn't very well because he's applying what he has to say here by a powerful poetic image in the hand of the Lord is a cop full of foaming wine mixed with spices the person out all the wicked of the earth. Drink it down to its very dregs is not the only place in the Bible that this particular image is used, the wrath of God being a cup of foaming wine find it several times in Isaiah freshly in chapter 51 and in Jeremiah, chapters 25, 49, 51, even in the book of Revelation very end of the Bible, Revelation 18, we know that idea. Best not because of those Bible passages, but because of the battle hymn of the Republic. It's one of those great national pieces that I love to sing when we used to drive along in the car with the children we sang at full volume. I think they know all the words but it's got that great line and that he is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. Remember that at a course motion of the song involves all tramping out of the vintage that wrath of God is moving on. That's what it's all about. That's where Steinbeck of course Dr. title for his book the grapes of wrath spoke of the mistreatment of the migrant workers in the earlier part of the century, well, that's the image we have here this foaming cop of the wrath of God. All of the wicked are going to have to drink down to the very dregs. I was so hard to think of examples about doing that in history, at least with people who have been noteworthy for their wickedness as a Scotsman's name is Myrna Campbell and is written in the book of meditations on the Psalms letter short, but sometimes very helpful and in this particular psalmist calls our attention to the way God dealt with Pharaoh Nebuchadnezzar. And then more recently and for him.

It was very recent. Adolf Hitler.

Here's what he wrote. Pharaoh reacted to God's command to let his people go by saying who is God that I should obey him. Nebuchadnezzar endeavored to set his throne, and kingdom above him whose throne and kingdom are forever and ever. Herod listen to the Galatians of his degenerate admirers who said it is the voice of God and not a man, or if you come nearer to our own time was his time speaks of Adolf Hitler, who we are told, gazed at a picture of himself writing probably on a horse and had the title underneath it in the beginning was the word and Hitler course very proud of that deliberately mock Jesus Christ by saying I am Providence well that's exultation of the wicked. Here's the way it ended, Campbell points out Pharaoh and his house were swept to the structure.

Nebuchadnezzar went insane and became a companion with the beast of the field. Herod was devoured by worms and Hitler became a suicide about the Bible versus those that walk in pride. God is able to abase a shortcut off the spirit of princes is terrible for the kings of the earth all the horns of the wicked will I cut off or from Psalm two. One enthroned in heaven laughs will terrify the wicked in his wrath, so the preacher is applied to tax course every good sermon.

Perhaps every good song ends with a personal response here in the very last stanza you have it, sponsor of the individual worshiper pointed out earlier, and the word online. Three times he begins as for me, and then it says II twice in that verse and then a final time.

What he says is that is going to declare this is going to sing praises because this is really what God is like me point out that there is a puzzle about how verse 10 should be taken. Generally, the commentators taken in two ways. It could be number one in additional Oracle from God be spoken earlier.

Now the end he speaks again I will cut off the horns of the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up. That's what he said earlier could be that. Secondly, and probably the majority of the commentators say this is the individual worshiper saying that he, in his experience is going to do what Donizetti would do as he says I'm going to be on God side and so is much as I have an opportunity. I'm going to see that the wicked are brought down on the humbler lifted up.

I don't think that's the answer we suggest, in my opinion that what is happening. Is this what you have in verse 10 is the content of the declaration or testimony of the individual worshiper is going to do another large is going to say to others what God is said to him we were going to do this and then English or American way of writing what we would do is put a hole in after the end of the ninth verse and quotation marks around again I would go something like this.

As for me, this is what I'm going to declare forever live animals and sing about: quote I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up and that makes it that's what is going to say that's the message of any saying Psalms saying that's what you and I have to say to if we know the God of the Bible, the God of the Bible is not Patsy's sentimental daddy up there and have in the God of the Bible is the righteous judge, it is true he is also a loving God is righteous.you will judge wickedness and we have the responsibility of saying Jesus Christ is returning and when he returns he is going to return and judgment.

We have this to say as well. It is true. Judgment is coming. It is true. Jesus is the judge is true. Our job is to warn people of the coming judgment but that's not all we have to say we also have a gospel in our gospel is this, it is not necessary for anyone as simple as he or she may be to actually drink the cup of the wrath of Almighty God.

And the reason why you and I don't have to drink it because Jesus Christ drank it for us. Remember in the garden how we wrestled over that. Pray that God would take this cup of wrath from them. He said finally. Shall I not drink the cup fathers given me. So we drank it down the very bottom.

All of the wrath of God against the sin of those who trust him. In their place. So what we have to do what we challenge people to do what I challenge you to do. If you haven't done it yet recognize Jesus is done that, if you will haven't. And instead of drinking a cup of the wrath of God drink the cup of salvation, psalmist says in another place for me to come to it eventually. Psalm 116 verse 13, I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call in the name of the Lord. That is the privilege we have in this day may everyone of us do it. We might not face God's wrath and that final day prior father were thankful for this song. The short Psalm speaking on a serious subject portraying you is the righteous judge that's not abandoned your universe was appointed today for judgment in which all wickedness will be judged but who until that time holds out the offer of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ. So we pray our father. That message might be clearly heard you might choose and be pleased to honor the saving of some who very much need to leave on Jesus Christ prayer.

Thank you for listening to this message from the Bible study our listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars and churchmen who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a reformed awakening in today's church. To learn more about the alliance visit alliance net.org and while you're there, visit our online store reformed resources.

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