A Summary of God’s Delivering Power for Israel
A Summary of God’s Delivering Power for Israel
Psalm 68. This Psalm is one of David, and really gives us a summary of God’s deliverance of Israel, beginning with the deliverance from Egypt, but transitioning into their final blessing. It looks forward to the Millennium! It uses seven different names of God; Elohim, Jah, Adonnai, El-Shaddai, Jehovah, Jehovah-Elohim, El.
To the chief Musician. Of David. A Psalm: a Song.
1 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered, and let them that hate him flee before him.
2 As smoke is driven, thou wilt drive them away; as wax melteth before the fire, the wicked shall perish at the presence of God.
3 But the righteous shall rejoice: they shall exult before God and be glad with joy.
vv.1-3 God Arises. Israel calls on God to arise and scatter His enemies! Notice that v.1 is almost identical to Num. 10:35, spoken by Moses whenever the cloud would rise up and go before the camp of Israel. However, David uses the name Elohim instead of Jehovah. Various figures are used: driving smoke and melting wax. The wicked will melt before the presence of God, but “the righteous shall rejoice” and will stand before God with joy and gladness.
4 Sing unto God, sing forth his name; cast up a way for him that rideth in the deserts: his name is Jah; and rejoice before him.
5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
6 God maketh the solitary into families; those that were bound he bringeth out into prosperity: but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
vv.4-6 God Leading His People. God is pictured as riding in majesty at the head of His people, who sing to Him, and rejoice before Him. His name is “Jah”, which is a shortened form of Jehovah. God is also seen as sitting in His “holy habitation”, righteously judging the poor and oppressed, bringing blessing to those who were afflicted. No doubt there is a reference to the deliverance from Egypt. But the rebellious (perhaps the rebellious in Israel) are left in the desert.
7 O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness — (Selah) —
8 The earth trembled, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God, yon Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
9 Thou, O God, didst pour a plentiful rain upon thine inheritance, and when it was weary thou strengthenedst it.
10 Thy flock hath dwelt therein: thou hast prepared in thy goodness, for the afflicted, O God!
11 The Lord gives the word: great the host of the publishers.
12 Kings of armies flee; they flee, and she that tarrieth at home divideth the spoil.
13 Though ye have lain among the sheepfolds, ye shall be as wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with green gold.
14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it became snow-white as Zalmon.
vv.7-14 Israel’s History Recounted. The history of the march through the wilderness is recounted. God marched, at the head of His people, through the wilderness. We have similar language in Judges 5. The earth trembled at Sinai when God’s presence was felt. He also watered His “inheritance” (the promised land) with rain, and strengthened His people. God brought Israel into Canaan, and scattered their enemies before them. Even the spoils of the Canaanites were given to Israel (v.12). Israel flourished like the spreading wings of a dove! Such was her entrance into Canaan. But these verses cannot be limited to the past merely. They also look to the future, when Israel’s true beauty, long hidden in the sheepfold of Judaism, will be spread forth for all the world to see!
15 As mount Bashan is the mount of God, a many-peaked mountain, as mount Bashan.
16 Why do ye look with envy, ye many-peaked mountains, upon the mount that God hath desired for his abode? yea, Jehovah will dwell there for ever.
17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them: it is a Sinai in holiness.
18 “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts in Man,” [quoted Ephesians 4:8] and even for the rebellious, for the dwelling there of Jah Elohim.
19 Blessed be the Lord: day by day doth he load us with good, the GOD who is our salvation. Selah.
20 Our GOD is the GOD of salvation; and with Jehovah, the Lord, are the goings forth even from death.
21 Verily God will smite the head of his enemies, the hairy scalp of him that goeth on still in his trespasses.
22 The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring them again from the depth of the sea;
23 That thou mayest dip thy foot in blood: the tongue of thy dogs has its portion from enemies.
vv.15-23 The Blessing of Zion. The place where God chose for His abode was Mount Zion. The other mountains (other nations) looked with envy on Zion, but God’s purpose (thus His name Jehovah is brought in) cannot be swayed; “Jehovah will dwell there for ever”. God’s power as a defence of Israel is expounded; with many thousands of chariots. The holiness of that city (certainly, this must look to the future), was as Mount Sinai. But how can this be accomplished for Israel? The answer: Christ is ascended as a glorified Man, and from that place He comes forth as the deliverer of His people. Notice that this passage is quoted Eph. 4:8 in application to Christ, and the “gifts” that He has given to the Church. Here it is Israel, not the Church, that becomes the beneficiary of those gifts. It was in the exaltation of Christ, and His coming manifestation in kingdom glory, that Jehovah will dwell among His people, who are really the same rebellious people that came up out of Egypt. But the faithful thank God for His gifts that are daily given to them. The delivering power of God, His absolute authority over every other power including death, is unfolded in v.20. This power is put forth in the judgment of His own enemies (v.21), the bringing home of His scattered people (v.22), and Israel’s victory over their enemies.
24 They have seen thy goings, O God, the goings of my GOD, my King, in the sanctuary.
25 The singers went before, the players on stringed instruments after, in the midst of maidens playing on tabrets.
26 In the congregations bless ye God, the Lord, — ye from the fountain of Israel.
27 There is little Benjamin, their ruler; the princes of Judah, their company; the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
vv.24-27 The King in the Sanctuary. With the enemies being destroyed, the King (Christ) takes His place in the sanctuary, which agrees with Ezekiel 43. The worship, suited to an earthly order, accompanies His goings; singers, players, and maidens. Israel and the nations are called to bless God. Israel will have authority over the nations in that day, and even the littlest tribe, “little Benjamin”, will be their ruler. And the old breach between the northern and southern kingdoms will be healed; the princes of Judah will keep company with the princes of Zebulun and Naphtali!
28 Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.
29 Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee.
30 Rebuke the beast of the reeds, the assembly of the strong, with the calves of the peoples: every one submitteth himself with pieces of silver. Scatter the peoples that delight in war.
31 Great ones shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall quickly stretch out her hands unto God.
vv.28-31 All Nations Subject to God. God having taken His rightful place in Israel, His strength is put forward to the subjugation of the whole earth. Kings bring presents unto God (v.29, see Zechariah 14:16) in His temple in Jerusalem! Some nations will require a rebuke to come; “Rebuke the beast of the reeds, the assembly of the strong, with the calves of the peoples”. The result is that every one will submit themselves with presents of silver. Those peoples who rebell will be scattered! The leaders and Egypt and Ethiopia will stretch out their hands, bringing presents unto God in His temple!
32 Ye kingdoms of the earth, sing unto God; sing psalms of the Lord, (Selah,)
33 Of him that rideth upon the heavens, the heavens which are of old: lo, he uttereth his voice, a mighty voice.
34 Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.
35 Terrible art thou, O God, out of thy sanctuaries, — the GOD of Israel! He it is that giveth strength and might unto the people. Blessed be God!
vv.32-33 Millennial Praise. The kingdoms of the earth are called on to sing to God, for His creatorial power, for His excellency over Israel, His heavenly strength over enemies, and for what He is for Israel; “the God of Israel”. The Psalm concludes with the worship of God that will ring through the Millennial age; “Blessed be God!”