God Answers His Own Plea

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Psalm 75:1-10 is written by Asaph. It is a song that is given to the “choirmaster,” one who is a superintendent of music for worship in the synagogue. The song itself is set to the tune of “Do Not Destroy,” a common theme throughout Scriptures from God’s people. This phrase, “Do Not Destroy,” is identified as a popular saying and gives a reassuring word from God to His people. Moreover, this song shows us how God answers His own plea from Psalm 74:22, 23: “Rise up, O God! Defend Your honor! Remember how fools insult You all day long! Do not disregard what Your enemies say, or the unceasing shouts of those who defy You.”

God will judge at the appointed time. 75:1-3

Asaph thanks God for being near His people. God is Almighty and His wondrous works are seen everyday all around: from Creation, salvation, redemption, and glorification of His people. Asaph understands these wondrous works as coming from God. All of the these acts are supernatural acts of God and none of them are of man.

In the second verse of this song, we see God speaking. He is asserting His sovereignty as He sets the time and place of all world events. It is clear this is the case when we read Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 that God sets all things in their place and He works all things out for His good pleasure and according to His own will. He delivers on His timetable, on His schedule, not His people’s schedules and certainly not on His enemies’ timetable. Often judgment, even invasion, is His will! But one day He will set all things straight according to His timing and will. And when He does, He will judge with equity! He will judge the earth. He will judge fairly based on His revelation of Himself to mankind so that no one is without excuse.

And how will people react? Verse three says that the people will “dissolve in fear.” That is, they will be in utter terror when the Judge makes Himself known and brings down the gavel in His courtroom. But this melting is not just the people, God’s judgment even affects all of Creation! Micah 1:4 and Nahum 1:5 attest to the melting away or the dissolving of the mountains and the inhabitants of the earth.

However, before discouragement sets in, read what Revelation 21:1-5 says: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. And I saw the holy city–the new Jerusalem–descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her huasband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more–or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.” And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then He said to me, “Write it down, because these words are reliable and true.” Wow! This is the promise of the One who is going to bring judgment to the earth and all its inhabitants, and yet He promises to bring His people a new heaven and a new earth!

God has appointed Himself as the Judge. 75:4-8

God speaks as the “Moral Guide” as His laws reflect His very character. God warns the wicked to change their heart attitude toward Him. They should not arrogantly defy God by lifting up their horns. This is a metaphor from the animal world which signifies a defiant strutting and a self-centered, self-interested, and self-confidence that they can do as they please apart from the Creator. It speaks of the defiance of the wicked against God. These pagans, wicked, trespassers, insolent, and iniquitous people. These are stiff-necked people, but God warns that they ought not speak with this stiff neck, this stubborn rebellion against Him. They need to come to realize that He will judge and that there is no help from any earthly direction to come to their aid or to their rescue.

For the time being, they may think they have the upper hand on God, or so it would seem, but God will set all things straight. There is no other arbiter but God. No worldly rank will bring any kind of provision and there will be no reversal to God’s judgment. Whom He exalts He exalts, and whom He judges He judges. God exalts the righteous and raises their characters to be that of righteousness. Remember what 1 Samuel 2:7 says: “The Lord impoverishes and makes wealthy; He humbles and exalts.” What shall our response be to God being the Judge? James 4:10 says: “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.” Humility must reign in our lives, knowing that we are sinful people and we need the Savior–the Lord Jesus Christ.

The wicked are warned by the psalmist because the Judge, who is God, will bring His full wrath against the wicked, His enemies. He will pour out His cup of judgment which is a mixture of “hot spice,” that is, something that will cause vomiting, crazed prostration, and reeling from the burning sensation that one experiences from God’s judgment. It’s certainly nothing that anyone truly wants to face, but those who are against the One true and Living God will.

God’s judgment is worthy of our praise. 75:9, 10

Asaph concludes this song publicly by praising God for judging His enemies. The horns symbolize strength, and they picture animals. Israel’s enemies will lose their strength, but God’s people will grow stronger. God is most likely speaking in verse ten. His role as Judge of all the earth means justice first for Himself then for His people. He will answer His plea for His justice to win at the end of the day. This day will inevitably come, and we need to keep it in view since God waits to judge. The Judge of all the earth will do justly because that is all that He can do. He is perfectly holy without limitation in perfection. He is perfectly righteous without limitation in perfection. He is perfectly just without limitation in perfection. God is worthy of all praise! He deserves our praise! All praise, honor, and blessing belong to Him.

So what can the wicked do today not to face God’s righteous judgment?

The Bible is clear! Romans 10:9, 10 says: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.” Have you believed Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior? Have you trusted Him to wash you clean of all your wickedness and sin? When you turn to Him for salvation, the Bible also says in Romans 10:13: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Call on Jesus Christ today to be saved, and His answer will be that you are saved in Him! Then you, too, will declare the wondrous works of our Everlasting God!

If you’ve made a decision to trust Jesus Christ today, text the word RESPOND to 817-592-8513. We will be glad to speak with you about your decision or any questions you may have.

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A Woman’s Plea & God’s Answer

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First Samuel 1 tells us about a story of God’s faithfulness and grace toward Hannah. Here’s a brief outline that covers the first chapter. This message was preached on Mother’s Day at Sagamore Baptist Church, May 10, 2020. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

  1. Some women are brokenhearted. 1:3-8
  2. Some women make their pleas known to God. 1:9-11
  3. Men just don’t understand women. 1:12-18
  4. The Lord remembers you right where you are. 1:19-20
  5. the Lord accepts your sacrifices. 1:21-28

Hope this encourages you along the way. And to my Mom, I say that I love you with all my heart!

Pleading With God

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Asaph, in Psalm 74, is grieving the fallen city of Jerusalem and its temple, the place where God meets with His people. He calls out to God to hear, answer, and move to reestablish His fallen but covenanted people. Through this prayer, Asaph teaches us a model of pleading with God: a) it is direct; b) it is passionate; c) it is honest; d) it is respectful; and, e) it is wise. As Charles Haddon Spurgeon said of this psalm, “We have here before us a model of pleading, a very rapture of prayer. It is humble, but very bold, eager, fervant, and effectual. The heart of God is always moved by such entreaties. By its very nature, this is truly a psalm of faith in God.

We plead with pain. 74:1, 2

This psalm is a “Maskil” which may mean it is a “skillful psalm” or “efficacious psalm.” No one is for sure what the term means, but it is a psalm that is instructive in the sense that it is teaching, or at minimum, implying wisdom for those who are singing or reading it.

Asaph first asks the question of God, “How long will You be angry with your people, O God?” He feels the sting of rejection from the Lord. God’s anger toward His people is felt deeply because of the sin of the people. Asaph is wondering if it will last forever. The anger felt is “smoking” or “raging” against God’s people, the “sheep of His pasture.” Asaph desires to see an end, the finality, of this anger toward God’s people. And this plea is painful as he reminds God of who His people are: they are purchased by God, they are redeemed by God, they have dwelt with God in His holy temple.

We pleaed with honesty. 74:3-8

Asaph, as if taking God by his right hand, begins to describe the ruins of the temple. The enemies of God have come and destroyed the temple, the place where God meets with His people. In the midst of this meeting place, God’s adversaries have broken into the sanctuary and replaced the banners of God with their own wicked banners. They have hacked away at the carved work and torn to pieces everything in their wake stealing the gold and silver that overlaid the wooden fixtures. These enemies of God have gone so far as to even burn the entire sanctuary to the ground. Asaph is showing God how they have destroyed every place that was used for worshiping Him–even destroying the City of God, Jerusalem.

Asaph points out that it is God who has allowed His enemies to come and destroy the temple and the city. How can there be public worship of God if there are no remaining places for worship in the land? Asaph, pained by what he sees, addresses God honestly with what he is thinking and how he is feeling.

We plead to know how long affliction will last. 74:9-11

This is the lowest point in the psalm. Asaph reiterates that the banners of God are removed. There are no prophets in the land to speak and teach the people. God’s people are at His mercy wondering how long this affliction will last. The enemy continues to bring contempt against the very name of God. They mock His name verbally. They take God’s name in vain. They spurn and despise God’s name. At this low point, Asaph admits that he believes that God has withdrawn His hand from His people. He feels as if God has turned back from them and is no longer there for His people. He then asks God to destroy His enemies. When the enemies of God come against His people, they are coming against God! Asaph speaks of the wanton destruction of the temple; Israel’s enemies are mocking God by doing what they have done. They are enemies not only of God’s people, but of God.

We plead knowing our unchanging God. 74:12-17

Asaph now turns his attention to how great God truly is. He is not one with which to be trifled. He is not one which is to be mocked. God is not one which is to be reviled, despised, held against with contempt. Earlier in the psalm Asaph asked God to remember His people. Now Asaph is remembering God! He remembers God’s works of deliverance, a reference to the exodus from the bondage of Egypt. God divided the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross over on dry land. And the sea monsters were broken, even Leviathan was crushed. These sea monsters, some scholars believe, may have been crocodile types of animals in the waters. Leviathan was supposedly crushed by Baal in the Canaanite religious legends. But Asaph says it is the God of Israel that has crushed Leviathan and fed his flesh to the wild beasts. Other scholars beleive this is representative of Egypt who’s symbol was that of a crocodile. At any rate, God defeated the armies of Egypt because they were enemies of His people, therefore, enemies of Him.

God also caused the torrents of water to rage and dried up streams. He caused the waters to to swallow up the enemy in the Red Sea and then He caused it to dry out so His people could cross over into the His land on dry ground. Asaph remembers the sovereignty of God as having control over all that occurs on the earth. He is sovereign over all created things. He has made both the day and the night. God has established the boundaries of the earth. He has made the seasons to occur year after year for the sustaining of life. Asaph remembers all that God has done and how He is unchanging in His very nature and character.

We plead by calling on the character of God. 74:18-23

The psalmist now turns his attention to the covenant that God has made with His people. he calls on the Lord to remember how His enemy has spurned His name. Asaph asks that God not forget the life of His afflicted one. Then, in verse twenty, He asks the Lord to consider the covenant that He made with His people. It is a unilateral covenant. God, as you recall above, has purchased His people, redeemed His people, and has dwelt with His people. He made a covenant with His people stating that they are His and that He is there God (cf. Genesis 12:1-3). It is a covenant that God made and is one-sided. This is what God has chosen to do with Israel. By invoking this covenant, Asaph is saying to God that He cannot go against His very nature of being unchanging, but rather that He must keep His covenant. By keeping His covenant with His people, God will raise His people to a place of honor and in praise of His holy name.

Asaph calls on the Lord to plead His own cause. Show that the covenant that He has made with His people still stands. Show His enemies who His people are and who their God is. He should act because it is fitting that His enemies be rebuked and the poor and needy praise His name. God should act because it is His cause and not a mere man’s that is in jeopardy. It is God’s purposes that are being opposed by Israel’s enemies, therefore, by His enemies.

How then shall we plead our case to God?

We do what Asaph did! We make a list of why God should answer our prayer and plead those reasons. We need to repeat that God has secured us in Himself and by Himself. We have been made secure by the shedding of blood by His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. We are secured in the promise that He has made to those who have believed that Jesus Christ died according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised again according to the Scriptures (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). We state our case to God and we plead with Him to answer. Either He will answer, or we will find that our prayers and our pleading is not a good one and that we will pray for something better–namely for His will to be done.

May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of His suffering.

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