Today’s passage: Psalm 75
Today’s chocolate: Chuao Baconluxious
I remember a time when my cousin and I were in middle school, and our younger cousin was around five. In the absence of a toy phone, she’d grabbed the actual cordless receiver and was pretending to call us up. My older cousin answered her latest call. “Hello?” he asked.
“This is God,” she said.
My cousin, in his wisdom, quickly pulled the plug on that particular scene, preventing whatever questionable theology might have arisen. But in a similar vein, I remember feeling odd whenever I’d hear a song on the Christian radio stations sung from God’s perspective, or on those rare occasions where we’d sing such a song in Sunday worship service. Were we all just like my five-year-old cousin, playing Divine Telephone?
Well, that’s exactly what our psalmist Asaph does in Psalm 75.
Not throughout the whole psalm, mind you. It begins with a communal expression of gratitude: “We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks” (1). But the congregation quickly shifts to singing the words of God himself: “When I select an appointed time, it is I who judge with equity” (2). God specifically judges the boastful and arrogant, urging them to quit grandstanding. But how weird would it be to sing with your ancient Hebrew countrymen, “The earth and all who dwell in it melt; it is I who have firmly set its pillars?” (3).
And that’s the weird thing. Sometimes speaking God’s words is not only permissible, but desirable. Wouldn’t we say that’s what happened with the entire Bible? Someone thought God had said something, and he told others, wrote it down, perhaps even sang it. And this happened with person after person, book after book. In generation after generation, people kept showing up with the boldness to presume they had the slightest sense of the divine message–the chutzpah to speak for God. And as a result, we have this book, and here I am writing about it, often startled by it, sometimes awed, never quite at ease.
Funny thing about the final verse: the NASB translates it “And all the horns of the wicked He will cut off” (10), but in the original Hebrew, that “he” is an “I.”
Question of the Day: At the end, has the psalmist returned to speaking for God, or is he expressing an intention to judge the wicked himself?