1 For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy”. A psalm of Asaph. A song.
We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.
2 You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly. 3 When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. Selah 4 To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. 5 Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak with outstretched neck.’” 6 No-one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. 7 But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. 8 In the hand of the LORD is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.
9 As for me, I will declare this for ever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob. 10 I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.
Thanks, praise and eternity
(Verse 1) This worship song starts on the right note, by giving thanks to God. It is a good and godly habit to cultivate to thank God early on in private or public prayer. Here, the reason given for thanking God is ‘for your Name is near; men tell of your wonderful deeds.’ When anyone thinks of God’s wonderful deeds, he uses His name to describe them. Because God has done many wonderful deeds His name is never far away from those who know Him, through faith in Christ, and rightly wish to be thankful. That is especially so today. Two early names given to our Saviour and Lord are ‘Jesus’ and ‘Immanuel’. ‘Jesus’ means ‘He will save His people from their sins’ and ‘Immanuel’ means ‘God with us.’ (Matthew 1:21, 23) Those names remind us of the miraculous ‘wonderful deeds’ of God becoming a man and dwelling with us (‘Immanuel’), and what happened on the cross and in the resurrection, when Jesus bore our sins and God’s judgment on them that we deserve, and then rose from the dead to live forever with ‘the power of an indestructible life’. (Hebrews 7:16)
(Verses 2-8) God’s almighty power is demonstrated in many different ways. Here are some areas where His majestic and unique power and authority apply.
- The timing of all events is God’s
- He is the supreme, righteous Judge
- He literally holds the world together
- He warns all wicked and proud people that He hates their sins
- He controls all men’s rise and fall
- All who do not repent of their sin and wickedness will finally drink fully His ‘cup of wrath’ against their sin. That is why we all urgently need to receive Christ so we can be forgiven for our sins, avoid Hell, and gain Heaven.
(Verse 9) This leads to a personal promise and resolution by Asaph that we would do well to make ours. When he says ‘I will declare this forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob’, the word ‘forever’ has two applications. Of course, it relates to Heaven where the Christian will praise God everlastingly when he is ‘with Christ which is better by far’ (Philippians 1:23). But It also implies that ‘I will sing praise’ now. The psalms often tell us do that.
(Verse 10) God says, ‘I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.’ Use of the word, ‘horns,’ came from judging an animal’s strength by its horns and how it used them in battle. Horns could be locked in combat between two animals. The strongest would win. Horns became a symbol of strength, pride and self-assertion. God says here that finally the proud will be rejected by Him, but those who are counted righteous, through faith in the Lord, will be exalted in Heaven.