February 4, 2017*
Good Out of Evil*
Surely the wrath of man shall praise you: the remainder of wrath shall you restrain.— Psalm 76:10
By this is meant man’s rage against God and against God’s people. Of this it is affirmed that –
There can be little doubt that this psalm is one of several others whose main theme is God’s deliverance of his people from Sennacherib, King of Assyria. Then, in Judah, God was known, and his Name was great in Israel. But we may fitly use the psalm as telling of those great and blessed spiritual deliverances which the soul of God’s servants have often known and rejoiced in – these triumphs of God over a deadlier foe than ever any Assyrian king could be to Israel. Concerning these note –
This is one of several psalms supposed to have been written in celebration of the sudden overthrow of Sennacherib’s army in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, and suggests the following truths – display
Magnify the People of God
- The peculiar abode of God—vv. 1, 2 It is where God The soul that is the abiding place of God witnesses and shares in the triumphs of God as none other can do. Fitful and partial religion leaves the soul more often vanquished than victor, and can never sing such a psalm as this.
- The gracious activity of God. The gospel is most emphatically the “power of God unto salvation.”
- God is everywhere; but is in an especial sense present with holy souls. They are represented as His “temple,” which implies —Special connection with Him; Special consecration to Him; Special manifestation of Him.
- The moment we believe, our help comes. Not before. All our strivings and endeavors leave us pretty much where we were; but when abandoning ourselves to God, that he may save us, then his power is made known, the enemy is rebuked and slain. The life of faith is, through God’s grace, the death of our foe.
Exemplify the Power of God
- God destroys the weapons of the soul’s great enemy. The arrows of evil thought; the shield of unbelief, love of sin, indifference – all that which wards off those words of God which are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies (Psalm 45.); the sword of the soul-slaying sin; the battle, the combined array of all the forces of evil.
- Takes for himself the prey which the enemy had regarded as his own.(Ver. 4.) All the spoil of Judah, which Assyria had reckoned to gather on the mountains where they were encamped, all that spoil, together with what they already had, – all was taken from them (cf. Luke 11:22). So God takes from the evil one the possession of those human powers and faculties which he had usurped and claims, and keeps them as his own.
- Keeps the enemy in the place of death.(Ver. 6.) It would be of little avail if our great spiritual foe were but for a time overcome, if after a little while he could come back with all his power. But our Lord came that he might give complete deliverance; and by the soul that continually trusts in him that deliverance is realized.
God is infinitely just in crushing all evil. Satan is a usurper, and all his hosts are rebels. As a just God, He will put all-enemies under His feel. In a moral sense, God is a “God of battles.” He is eternally warring against wrong.
God’s greatest glory is not in destruction but in redemption. Here his power for destruction is celebrated; but in the New Testament his work of salvation – his power to give life, not his power to take it away.
Objectify the Praise of God
- God is able to overrule the rebellion of men so that in the end it shall illustrate His praise. (Ver. 10.) God’s love can conquer human wrath, and so make it praise him. All rebellion against God’s will must in the end redound to God’s glory: it serves to set His sovereignty in a clearer light (Exodus 9:16). Excellently the P.B.V., ‘shall turn to thy praise.’
- The Bible is full of illustrations of this. It is part of God’s universal purpose of overruling all evil for good. See this in the history of the Fall – it became the occasion of redemption. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ – it draws all men unto him. Persecution of the Church caused its worldwide extension. The corruption of the Church led to the Reformation. See the hand of God in history continually compelling what is “meant in malice to be changed to blessing.”
People of God should not be terrified by the wrath of men. (See Job 1:12; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalm 2.) Let them praise God for the blessed alchemy of his grace, whereby he transmutes the wrath of man into his praise. – S.C.
God subordinates human wrath. As the mariner makes the gale his servant to bear his vessel to the port, so God makes the malign passions of men and devils to bear on His great purposes to their complete fulfillment. He restrains it. He allows the wrath of His creatures to go no further than He chooses. As He has set a boundary to the ocean, He has also to the human passions. “So far shalt thou go, and no further.”