>God shall arise – Psalm 68

>With 35 verses, Psalm 68 is much longer than recent Psalms in this meditation series so I’ll simply highlight some of the things that struck me this morning.

With words that are the basis for the rousing lyrics of #124 from the blue Psalter Hymnal, “Let God Arise, and by His Might” (and others in the Psalter), Psalm 68 begins:

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
and those who hate him shall flee before him!
As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;
as wax melts before fire,
so the wicked shall perish before God! (1-2).

God’s enemies are those who hate God and his people, but this Psalm seems to indicate that it’s possible also to think of chronic problems such as pain, grief, and anxiety as God’s enemies.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prioners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land (5-6).

These verses demonstrate that God’s enemies include grief and lonliness as well as persecution. But those who rebel against God will wander aimlessly in the desert of despair.

God’s people who rebelled against him wandered in the desert, but the next several verses recount how God cared for them in their wanderings and how he brought them victory in their battles.

The next verses speak about the “mountain of Bashan” that looks “with hatred” at the “mount that God desired for his abode” (15-16). The Psalm them affirms God’s power and sovereignty:

The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands;
the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary (17).

That powerful and sovereign God is not limited to one holy mountain; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.

God came to his people in thunder and cloud on Sinai when he gave them the law, but he now comes near to his people in worship. He made this possible through the finished work of Christ:

You ascended on high,
leading a host of captives in your train
and receiving gifts from me,
even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there (18).

If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard it cited in Ephesians 4:8. Because Christ has died, risen, and ascended into heaven, we can say with the Psalmist:

Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death (19-20).

The Psalm continues with assurances of victory over enemies and praises for corporate worship (24-27) before again requesting God’s action:

Summon your power, O God,
the power, O God, by which you have worked for us (28).

Then it exhorts the people of the earth to praise and worship God:

O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
sing praises to the Lord,
to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
behold, he send out his voice, his mighty voice (32-33).

The conclusion is a forceful call to acknowledge God’s power and sovereignty:

Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
the God of Israel–he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God! (34-35).

The name of this blog is “Ascribelog” because its goal is to ascribe glory and power to God. No words can better convey that than those of Psalm 68.


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