You are Going to Hear Me Roar: Psalm 76

Psa. 76:1 In Judah God is known;

his name is great in Israel.

Psa. 76:2    His abode has been established in Salem,

his dwelling place in Zion.

Nothing can be more local and quaint than this opening verse, “In Judah God is known”(v1). Though at first glance this psalm may seem very parochial it is anything far from it. It is rightly place within a genre called “battle psalms” recounting God’s victory. This psalm tells us that God is objectively ours.


These first 6 verses seem local and defensive. God’s earthly residence is under attack. Judah and Israel are under siege. Salem and Zion, God’s abode, are surrounded. This God is actively ours. Most translations miss the poetic nature of the word “abode,” God’s earthly dwelling. In this Psalm abode should better be translated as “den.” God is a protective lion. This is a Lion who will roar if anything harmful comes towards his cubs.

The four personal words Judah, Israel, Salem, and Zion denote a nearness and a tenderness that seems directed to the Lord’s covenant people. The people singing this psalm are praising God for being “theirs.” They are singing of a personal affection and relation.This God can be trusted as being theirs because they point to the miraculous. It is not some metaphorical illustration. Miracles are actual and datable, not picturesque statements of general truth (Kidner, Tyndale Commentary). God can be trusted because he is “ours.” More importantly, he is trustworthy because he is objectively ours.


The psalm changes from a narrow and local description of God to a God of universal proportions. His objective deliverance, “All the men of war were unable to use their hands,” is a direct reference to Isaiah 37 and God’s objective miracle of rescuing Judah from Sennacherib and his Assyrian Army.

God’s local rescue is a foretaste that He will restore the world to its righteous working order. The psalmist is so convinced of this that he actually uses the past tense verb to describe this beautiful consummation of history. “God arose to establish judgment, to save all the humble of the earth. Selah”(v. 9) The beauty of this verse is that the psalmist is using the past perfect verb tense. God has decisively acted that even future promises of God’s goodness are prophetically declared as already being accomplished. St Paul describes this ability of trusting Jesus’ objective, past action on the cross allows us to live in the “downpayment” or “first fruits” of God’s future glory planned for us.(Rom 8:18,23)

God is objectively and actively ours.

A Prayer:

Gracious Lord, I will receive the cup of salvation,  and call upon the Name of the Lord.  I will pay my vows now in the presence of all his people,  in the courts of the Lord’s house;  even in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem.  Praise the Lord.  Glory be to the Father,  and to the Son,  and to the Holy Ghost;  As it was in the beginning, is now,  and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

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