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A Season of Psalms - Psalm 75:1, 7, 9-10

Psalm 75:1, 7, 9-10

We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds…but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another…But I will declare it forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. All the horns of the wicked I will cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.”

English Standard Version (ESV)

The “rule of three” is the principle that states that things that come in patterns of three (fairy tales, Hollywood blockbusters, cousins of Donald Duck) are inherently more humorous, more satisfying, and more effective than other patterns of numbers. The reader or audience of this kind of philosophy is much more likely to consume information if it’s written in groups of three. However, the reverse is also true: bad things happen in threes. Social philosophy disagrees, noting that our cognitive processes tend to see patterns in things with no direct correlation. Once this becomes a pattern, it tends to override our logic to the point where the occurrence of one bad event leads us to look for 2 more negative events in close proximity to each other and thus equate them as a pattern, when in fact, no such pattern exists.

One may look at Psalms 73-75 as a rule of three, as Asaph continues to harp on the prosperity of the wicked. In Psalm 73, he almost envies them but realizes their eternal destiny. In Psalm 74, he cries out in anguish as the wicked trample on the temple and profane the Lord’s name. But the pattern, the “rule of three,” is broken here in Psalm 75, because the day that Asaph finally longs for will come to fruition. God will act and exercise his authority as Judge between the wicked and the righteous. He will “judge with equity” (v. 2) and execute “judgment by putting down one (the wicked) and lifting up another (the righteous; v. 7).” The end of the wicked is sure. They will not succeed. God will hand them over to their wickedness and will pronounce His sentence on them.

The fate of the wicked should encourage Christians everywhere to keep their eyes on God. We should not be boastful or proud that we have escaped the wrath of God’s judgment, but rather we should consider “what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of the Lord.” Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith! In Him, we have life and health and peace!

Further Reading: 1 John 2:15-17; Exodus 14

Pray with me: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

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