It’s a song about judgment. A set time appointed by God when He will “judge with equity.” A time when “a cup with foaming wine” is poured out and the wicked of the earth “shall drain it down to the dregs.” The earth destabilized. Things as they always were turned upside down. What once seemed unshakeable becoming utterly unstable. And in the midst of this song of judgment is a soul-quieting promise. A promise for that day, but also, I think, a promise for today.
When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah
(Psalm 75:3 ESV)
The new translations picture the earth tottering, shaking, or quaking as God’s judgment rolls out. The older translations speak of it dissolving or melting away. Whatever the exact meaning of the original word, the idea is of things coming apart. What was once solid becoming increasingly fluid. What was once certain, increasingly unpredictable. And though that happens, God steadies the pillars.
While the prevailing posture of God towards the earth in our day is still that of grace — patient not willing that any should perish (2Pet. 3:9-10) — you could argue that His judgment is apparent as well. Judgment in a Romans 1 sense. That, as men refuse to honor the Creator as God or give thanks to Him but exchange the glory of God for idols of their own making (Rom. 1:18-23), God “gives them up.” Gives them up to the lusts of the heart (1:24). Gives them up to dishonorable passions (1:26). Gives them up to a debased mind to do what out not to be done (1:28). And, as with all judgment of God, this “giving up” to man to do what man’s gonna do, has a far-reaching, residual effect. It causes the earth and all its inhabitants — the righteous and the not so righteous — to totter.
Tottering. Teetering. Quaking. Shaking. Hasn’t that been the experience of so many, especially over this past year? I’m thinkin’ . . .
But He steadies the pillars. He reinforces the foundation. Even in this severity His kindness is known.
For the believer, He steadies the pillars as His Spirit intercedes with our spirit concerning His Sovereign control, His eternal promises, His all sufficient grace, and His ever-present help in time of need.
For the unbeliever, as things they once took for granted, their self-made securities melt away, His Spirit woos them to Himself. As they find themselves in desperate, dead-end situations and come to their senses (Lk. 15:17), He shows them the way home to a Father who is waiting with open arms to receive them, to adopt them, to provide for every need in ways only He could.
He steadies the pillars.
Worth remembering as we watch the news. Worth repeating to ourselves as we process this whirling world around us. Worth declaring to those who have lost their footing and are desperately seeking some solid ground. He steadies the pillars.
By His grace. For His glory.