This weekend I was playing around with Logos Bible Software’s Psalm Explorer function (which is actually a super interesting way to visualize the book) and I was looking in particular at Psalms that have a thanksgiving theme.
That’s when I noticed something odd – several of the Psalms had “judgement” or “evil” as sub-themes. That’s not quite what I expected out of thanksgiving. As I read through these Psalms, one struck me. Here’s the whole thing followed by a few random thoughts…
We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.
“At the set time that I appoint
I will judge with equity.
When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah
I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
or speak with haughty neck.’”
For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.
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.
Asaph (the author of this Psalm) starts out by thanking God for his “wondrous deeds” and God responds (see the quotation marks) by reminding him that he will one day judge the boastful and wicked who strut around like a deer with a huge rack.
It is then that Asaph remembers that God is in charge of “lifting up” and “putting down” and that one day God will make all things right. He will judge and he will mount the rack of the wicked and leave the horns of the righteous standing tall.
I don’t often think of God’s judgement as something to thank him for, but there is an odd comfort embedded in these verses. There are many who boast. There are many who strut around and arrogantly lift themselves up. They declare themselves (and their wicked deeds) as righteous.
But God alone judges.
And he will.
And that’s something to be thankful for.