The broad secularization of society that has occurred over the last few generations has led to increased immorality, decreased devotion, and compromised conviction—even among those still purporting to love and adore God. In the wake of societal changes, missional churches have morphed their mission to the point they have become an unofficial arm of government bureaucracy. The emerging church movement accepted the premises of postmodernism and made cultural compromise their central doctrine. The official positions of various religious organizations on major moral issues facing society have, for the most part, displayed more interest in being accepted by society than standing up for their Savior. And what should we expect? Once you treat compromise as a guiding principle, the gutter becomes the finish line. However, while we tend to view these changes through the lens of recent history, the world—and false religion with it—actually has settled back to its norm. God’s people have always been a major minority, and they will continue to be such until the end of time. But in the meantime, Christians have a responsibility not to allow the negativity of religious antipathy to alter our faith. Instead, we should become beacons to the world, proclaiming through our faithfulness that God is real, God is great, and God is known, for this was the message of Psalm 76.
This psalm is, in essence, a song of victory. While the timeframe is unclear, the nature of the victory is certainly reminiscent of the LORD’s striking of the Assyrian army (Isa. 37:36) during the reign of Hezekiah, sending the powerful army back home in disgrace. Judah and Jerusalem, as well as perhaps even the temple, identify the place, if these are meant literally (Psa. 76:1-2). The description of a defeated army retreating from the presence of God (Isa. 76:3-4) after God kept them from being able to wage war against His people (Psa. 76:5-6) provides astounding imagery, reminding us that no power or enemy is too great for God to defeat. And that remains true today. The nature of the enemy may take a different form, and the victory may come in a different manner, but God still wields His power. Therefore, the lessons learned from this incident and recorded by the descendants of Asaph should strengthen our faith and bolster our courage. God reigns, and God judges; therefore, God should be feared by all who oppose Him (Psa. 76:7-9), and we can rest assured that God will find a way to ensure justice will be done (Psa. 76:10). Therefore, “Make vows to the Lord your God, and pay them; Let all who are around Him bring presents to Him who ought to be feared” (Psa. 76:11 ) rather than the governments of men who seek to do harm to God’s people (Psa. 76:12).
We do not suffer from the same threats as Israel did; therefore, we should not expect the same kind of response from God. However, when we are faithfully God’s people, we can have confidence that God knows our plight, feels for us, and will do something about it when the time is right. While we wait, our responsibility is to make sure that God is known to others by showing them that He is known to us.