Theme: Giving Thanks
In this week’s lessons, we are reminded that God is sovereign over all things, and he will execute justice and judgment in his own time.
Scripture: Psalm 75:1-10
It is natural for the people of God to give God thanks, for there are innumerable blessings for which thanks is due. But here, in verse 1, thanks is given to God for just one thing, and that is that the “Name [of God] is near.” The “Name” stands for God himself; so “your Name is near” means that God is near. He is never far away; he is always at hand.
This is true in several senses, and any number of them could have been in the psalmist’s mind. For one thing, that God is near could mean that God is everywhere, that he is omnipresent. That would be important for the wicked to know, because it would be a way of reminding them that God knows all about them and that his judgments are inescapable. They may be permitted to sin freely for a time, but they are never able to sin without consequences.
Second, that God is near could mean that God is near to help the righteous, just around the corner, as it were. That would be important for his people to know, because it would be strengthening for upright people who go through hard times. That God is near to help would be an assurance that God will never abandon the righteous and will always step forward to help at just the right moment.
In this context, however, the statement that God is near probably means that he is in charge of his universe, that is, that he has not turned his back to it or abandoned its rule to others, but that he is still present and presiding over everything that happens. This is why the words “your Name is near” are followed by “men tell of your wonderful deeds,” meaning the things they have themselves witnessed, and why the rest of the psalm dwells on God’s present ongoing judgments in history.
Are you aware that God really is near at hand, that he is present in all that happens, and that nothing that ever comes into your life or happens to others is accidental? If you can see that and really believe it, it will transform all of life for you. You will never again be “under the circumstances,” as we say, but always above them.
Why is the psalmist thankful that the name of God is near?
Why is it natural for people to give thanks?
What message does this passage have for the wicked? For the righteous?
In what ways can God be thought to be near? What about in this passage?
Application: Are you going through a period in your life that feels as if God is not near? Is there anything you need to do differently that may be the reason why God feels far off? What does the Bible teach about God’s presence with and faithfulness toward those who are upright? Ask God to give you an awareness of his presence in your life, and the settled confidence that the Lord really does do all things well.