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In Judah is God known: His name is great in Israel.
Glorious aspects of the Divine character
I. As the glorious resident in the midst of His people (Psalms 76:1-2). God is everywhere; but is in an especial sense present with holy souls. They are represented as His “temple,” which implies--
1. Special connection with Him.
2. Special consecration to Him.
3. Special manifestation of Him.
II. As the triumphant conqueror of his enemies. He does His work--
1. Thoroughly (Psalms 76:3-5).
2. Easily (Psalms 76:6). His word is the fire that will burn up corruption, the hammer that will break the rocky heart, the sword that will slay moral evil.
3. Judicially (Psalms 76:8-9). God is infinitely just in crushing all evil. Satan is a usurper, and all his hosts are rebels. As a just God, He will put all-enemies under His feel. In a moral sense, God is a “God of battles.” He is eternally warring against wrong.
III. As the absolute master of malign passions (Psalms 76:10).
1. He subordinates human wrath. As the mariner makes the gale his servant to bear his vessel to the port, so God makes the malign passions of men and devils to bear on His great purposes to their complete fulfilment.
2. He restrains it. He allows the wrath of His creatures to go no further than He chooses. As He has set a boundary to the ocean, He has also to the human passions. “So far shalt thou go, and no further.”
IV. As the supreme object of human worship (Psalms 76:11). This implies two things.
1. Devout resolutions. “Vow and pay unto the Lord your God.” In this clause we have the fundamental God, and do right, and we shall get on as much as He thinks good for us. (A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red.
God’s threatenings against incorrigible sinners
In this verse we have a lively description and amplification of the judgments of God upon the world, which are hero set forth unto us under a threefold representation of them. First, in their preparation. Secondly, in their execution. Thirdly, in their participation.
I. The preparation.
1. The vessel--a cup. By this we may understand whatsoever it is which is the means, and conveyance, and derivation of any evil unto us. God makes the same providences to be a cup of physic to His children, for the recovering of them from their spiritual infirmities, and a cup of poison to His enemies, for the destroying of them, in the midst of their sins.
2. The liquor.
(1) Red wine--a cup of blood prepared for the inhabitants of the world, as an expression of God’s vengeance upon them.
(2) Full of mixture, i.e. wrath and revenge.
3. The preparer--God Himself.
II. The execution. God will not be always in the forewarnings of judgment, He will be at last in the dispensations of it. He will not be always tempering it, He will be at last pouring out of it. The Lord is full of patience and longsuffering, and bears much with the sons of men for a long while together; but when His patience and longsuffering is once abused, He then comes on to punishment and execution. And this I say it is, when sin is come to its ripeness and maturity, and is at its full growth. There are three aggravations of sin which do put God upon the execution of judgment, and this pouring forth of wrath.
1. Boldness and insolence in sinning (Jeremiah 8:12).
2. Generality in sinning; when it comes to taint and overspread a whole nation.
3. Security and presumption.
III. The participation.
1. The persons mentioned. “The wicked of the earth,” that is, such as are more scandalous, and presumptuous, and impenitent, and farthest from reformation; such as those who, for the nature of sin, are more abominable, and for the continuance in it, are more incorrigible; these are they which the Holy Ghost does here point at in a more principal manner.
2. The evil denounced against them.
(1) The potion or draught itself, it is the dregs of the cup. This is the potion of wicked men, while ‘tis said they shall drink the dregs, there are three things implied in this expression as belonging unto it.
(a) The reservation of judgment, they shall drink the last.
(b) The aggravation of judgment, they shall drink the worst.
(c) The perfection and confirmation of judgment, they shall drink up all. They shall drink the last, they shall drink the worst, they shall drink all; each of these are implied in the dregs. (T. Horton, D. D.)
The Lord’s cup
I. The contents of the Lord’s cup. “The wine is red; it is full of mixture;” that is, however fair the appearances of things may be, however splendid any state of happiness, or any situation of life may appear, there is always added to it a certain portion of evil. By evil, I mean only the usual misfortunes and afflictions of human life. These are what temper the cup of the Lord; and in this mixed state it is poured out to the inhabitants of the earth. Man being compounded of good and evil, all his labours partake of the mixture. Let him form what schemes he will; let him employ all his little prudence and foresight in bringing them to perfection, still we will find mixed with them in one shape or other, uncertainty, disappointment, and miscarriage.
II. How the ungodly man drinks it. The text says, “He drinks the dregs.” Now, the dregs of any liquor are the pernicious parts. It is fairly implied, therefore, that the ungodly man turns both the good and evil of life to his own destruction.
III. How the godly man drinks it. As the ungodly man drinks the dregs, the finer parts of the liquor are, of course, the portion of the godly man. In the first place, he expects to find a degree of bitterness in his cup. He sees the propriety of it, and fully acknowledges the great usefulness of this mixture of good and evil. If the potion were perfectly palatable, he fears he might drink to excess. When it pleases Heaven to bless him; when his designs succeed; and his hopes dilate in some view of happiness before him, “Now is the time” (he suggests to himself) “when I must guard my heart with double care. Now is the time when insolence, and wantonness, and pride, the attendants of a prosperous hour, are most liable to corrupt me. Let prosperity soften my heart, instead of hardening it. Let me be humble, and mild, and condescending, and obliging to all. In the midst of my own enjoy meats, let my heart expand. Let me feel the misery of others; and turn my plenty to the relief of their necessity.” Again, when it pleases Heaven to mix some bitter ingredients in his cup, still he has the same sense of acting under the will of God. “Now,” he cries, “is the time when I am to exorcise patience and resignation. Now my religion is put to the test. Shall I receive good at the hand of the Lord, and not receive evil? Gracious God! grant that I may improve my heart under this trial of my faith; and make my sufferings, through Jesus Christ, the means of purifying my affections. Let me for His sake bear a trifling part of what He bore for me; and lot me keep that great pattern of suffering resignation always before my eyes.” Thus the godly man drinks of the Lord’s cup, and his draught, whether sweet or bitter, is wholesome to him. (W. Gilpin.)
But I will declare for over; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
A model of devout praise
The praise resolved upon here is worthy of our imitation, inasmuch as it--
I. Loses sight of self in devout admiration of the character and doings of God.
1. He will praise God for His doings.
(1) Undeserved by us. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(2) Unsought by us. We did not seek God, but He sought us by Jesus Christ.
(3) Freely and heartily given by God out of His own sovereign love. “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
2. He will praise God for His faithfulness. With Him there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
3. He will praise God “for ever.” “Let not thy praises be transient--a fit of music, and then the instrument hung by the wall till another gaudy day of some remarkable providence makes thee take it down. God comes not guest-wise to His saints’ house, but to dwell with them. David took this up for a life-work: ‘As long as I live, I will praise Thee.’”
II. Evinces its reality by resolving to imitate Him. Our praise of the excellences of others is a very hollow affair unless we also cultivate those excellences. We praise God for His “unspeakable gift”; are we imitating His pure generosity? We praise Jesus Christ for His great self-sacrifice for us; are we denying ourselves in His spirit that others might be benefited? We bless God for the Gospel; are we exemplifying the spirit of the Gospel? A certain Dr. Whitaker, on reading the fifth chapter of Matthew, brake out, saying, “Either this is not the Gospel, or we are not of the Gospel.” And is it not to be feared that the spirit of the Gospel for which men praise God, and the spirit of their lives, are often widely different? Let-us evince the sincerity of our praise to God by imitating Him in our spirit and life. Let us admire Him, commune with Him, adore Him, until we are transformed into the same image. (W. Jones.)
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 76". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29