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From Defeat to Victory

11. August 2009

Columns, Psalm of the Month,

  

*Psalm 76**

Psalm Category:Song of Zion

Central Thought:God will gloriously turn every defeat into victory, all the way to heaven.

C.H. Spurgeon aptly describes Psalm 76 as “a paean [song of praise] to the King of kings,” for it celebrates a great victory in battle for God’s people. It could fit with David’s conquest of Jerusalem or with the destruction of the Assyrians three centuries later.

There is a certain timelessness in this song that reaches beyond the event that occasioned it, such that it has the widest application to all kinds of struggles, both temporal and spiritual, in which God’s will prevails for His people. It is about giving God glory for turning defeat into victory, on our road from here to eternity. It does so along four distinct lines.

First, God is glorious in making himself known to His people (vv. 1-3). His self-revelation is a glorious condescension to hell-deserving rebels. And it is about personal and saving knowledge, not mere ethnic or cultural heritage (v. 1).

Mention of Judah recalls His lordship (Gen. 49:10), and mention of Israel (“prince with God”) recalls His covenant mercy. Salem and the tabernacle, and Zion as His dwelling place, emphasize His amazing grace in providing sacrifice for sin to reconcile His people to Himself, so that He is present with them all the time (v. 2).

This language points to Jesus Christ, who is “a priest forever ...

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