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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - June 27, 2007
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June 27, 2007

Psalms 74-77
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Psalms
Chapter 74
  1. (Maschil of Asaph.) O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?
  2. Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt.
  3. Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.
  4. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs.
  5. A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.
  6. But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers.
  7. They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground.
  8. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.
  9. We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.
  10. O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?
  11. Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom.
  12. For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.
  13. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.
  14. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
  15. Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers.
  16. The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.
  17. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter.
  18. Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.
  19. O deliver not the soul of thy turtledove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever.
  20. Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.
  21. O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise thy name.
  22. Arise, O God, plead thine own cause: remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily.
  23. Forget not the voice of thine enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually.


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Psalms
Chapter 75
  1. (To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, A Psalm or Song of Asaph.) Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
  2. When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.
  3. The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.
  4. I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:
  5. Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.
  6. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
  7. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
  8. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.
  9. But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
  10. All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.


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Psalms
Chapter 76
  1. (To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm or Song of Asaph.) In Judah is God known: his name is great in Israel.
  2. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.
  3. There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.
  4. Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey.
  5. The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.
  6. At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep.
  7. Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?
  8. Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still,
  9. When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.
  10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
  11. Vow, and pay unto the LORD your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared.
  12. He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.


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Psalms
Chapter 77
  1. (To the chief Musician, to Jeduthun, A Psalm of Asaph.) I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.
  2. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.
  3. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.
  4. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
  5. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.
  6. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.
  7. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?
  8. Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?
  9. Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.
  10. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
  11. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.
  12. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
  13. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
  14. Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.
  15. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
  16. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.
  17. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.
  18. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
  19. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.
  20. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.


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Thought for the day:
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 Psalm 75 is another song of praise and thanksgiving. There are four lines in it that really stick out to me. They are verses 4-7, which read,

"I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn: Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."
Asaph writes these words showing the magnificence of the Lord, but in so doing he also reveals a flawed view that many people have of their own abilities.

 He opens these verses by addressing the foolish and the wicked. Apparently, those who hold to the philosophy which he is about to expose fit into one or both of these categories. Either they are foolishly ignorant of who they are and Who God is, or they know the truth and rebel against it. Either way they have a spiritual problem, and Asaph means to deal with it. The problem is that they are filled with pride. The horn that they were lifting up was the trumpet that would herald their coming (4-5). We use the expression today "tooting your own horn", and this is the meaning that it has in Psalm 75 as well. He also mentions the stiff neck of pride in verse 5, so there is really no question as to what iniquity these fools were involved with.

 What were they proud about? There can be many reasons for pride to rear its ugly head, but a specific one is given to us here. Apparently these men had achieved some sort of important position, or received some form of honor, and they were very pleased with themselves for having obtained it. They probably spoke at length about how hard they had worked to get to where they were, and how long a process it has been. Perhaps they even thanked all the "little people" who had made it all possible. Yet the one Person that they never considered was the One Who allowed them to receive the honor in the first place, Jehovah God. No man is lifted up because of what someone else thinks or does, and he is certainly not lifted up because he is such a great individual (6). Promotion only comes by the hand of God, and He alone determines who is to be exalted and who is to be abased (7).

 No man ever has the right to think or say that he is a "self-made man", or that he some how deserves the positions and accolades that he has received. I believe that it is right to do our best, but the fact is that God knows whether we "deserve" a promotion or not. Perhaps we might "deserve" it, but the Lord knows that if we had it we would turn away from Him. We must simply follow Him, and allow Him to determine which earthly rewards, if any, we need to receive.

 It is always good to remember that everything that I have accomplished in this life has been solely by the grace of God. He gave me my mind and my strength. He gave me the ability to get an education. He gave me a job. He gave me the health to go to work today. If any one of those things was absent, I could not accomplish what I do. There are many intelligent people who never had the opportunity for an education. There are educated people whose health will not allow them to hold a job. There are educated, healthy people who have lost their jobs through downsizing or economic reversals. There are even otherwise healthy people who got sick on a certain day that made them miss a particular opportunity that never came around again. Who am I to think that I am something special? It is all in the hands of the Lord, and He alone is worthy of praise for anything that is accomplished.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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