When studying a psalm, there are three questions I like to ask. What does it tell me about God? What does this psalm reveal about me? And, how am I to respond? Psalm 75 reminds me that, in my flesh, I am a prideful, selfish creature with an insatiable need to blow my own horn. More importantly, Psalm 75 speaks of God as the ultimate, perfect, absolute judge over all His creation—who both exalts the righteous and condemns the wicked. And, my response, in light of who I am in Christ, is praise.
In this song we see attributes of God that are, at the same time, encouraging and frightening. We see His mercy and His justice. We see His compassion and His judgment. We see His transcendence and His immanence. Psalm 75 reminds us that God condemns the wicked and rewards the righteous.
That God sits in judgment over creation is seen throughout Scripture. This is a given. But there are things we must understand if we are to have a useful perspective on this. First, we must understand His judgment is perfect. He needs no witnesses, He sees everything. Phrases like “beyond a reasonable doubt” and “to a moral certainty” do not apply to the Most High God, who knows and sees all things; who sees me as I truly am.
But, this raises the question in my mind, who could, in this wicked and fallen world, attach himself to the camp of the righteous? Can anyone look in the mirror and with confidence say, “Doing good! Keep it up!” Certainly Paul, in the midst of penning his great letter to the Roman church, didn’t presume as much. After proclaiming his own struggle with the flesh, he cries out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). Then, of course, he immediately answers his own question, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
We who belong to Jesus must always be mindful that, without Christ, we are no better off before a holy God than the worst of man walking the earth. However, in Christ, the Judge is also our advocate. He is our defense. He is our righteousness. The blessed truth is that, in His perfect judgment, He doesn’t overlook or ignore our wickedness. But rather, He sees us for the new creatures we are, (2 Corinthians 5:17). God sees Christ in us, (Galatians 2:20).
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”