The Word Made Fresh
(To the worship leader: with stringed instruments. A psalm of Asaph; a hymn.)
1God is known in Judah.
God’s name is exalted in Israel.
2God’s tent is in Salem.
God’s home is in Zion.
3There God broke the flying arrows,
the shields, the swords, and all the weapons.
4You are glorious; you are more majestic
than the mountains with all their prey.
5The brave were stripped of their plunder.
They fell asleep, unable to lift a hand.
6When the God of Jacob scolded them
all their horses and riders collapsed.
7You are to be feared more than all of them.
None can challenge you when you are angry.
8You pronounced your judgment from the heavens
and the earth was filled with awe
9when you, God, made known your decision
to rescue all the oppressed peoples on the earth.
10People’s anger can only bring praise to you
and enwrap you as if it were a fine garment.
11Fulfill all your promises to the LORD your God.
Let all those who serve the LORD bring gifts,
for God is an awesome God
12who stifles the pride of princes
and makes the kings of the earth afraid.
Superscription: the 5th “Psalm of Asaph,” this one with musical instruments, which is befitting to Asaph, who was a musician in David’s court.
1-3: The psalm begins by praising God, and credits God with thwarting an attack on Zion (Jerusalem).
4-6: Some believe the reference to “horses and riders” in verse 6 is a reference to the drowning of the Egyptian cavalry in the Red Sea. However, in keeping with the mention of Zion in verse 2 it seems more likely that the reference is rather to an attack on Jerusalem during the time of Hezekiah when the besieging enemy was stricken with a plague (see 2 Kings 19:35).
7-9: Because of their miraculous rescue, therefore, the psalm expresses ultimate confidence in God.
10-12: The wrath of Israel’s enemies ultimately results in God’s being praised. The psalm thus concludes by advising the people to be faithful to God, for God has been faithful in rescuing them from the “kings of the earth.”
Many of the Psalms refer to attacks of enemies and the sacking and even destruction of Zion, the sacred hilltop in Jerusalem. Always, though, is the sentiment that God is still in charge and will come to their aid. It is an assurance we can depend on – in the worst of times God is still God and God’s people will be protected.