Psalm 68

The glory of Zion’s King is that He is a Savior and benefactor to all His willing people and a consuming fire to all those who are impenitent and enemies of God’s work in the world.
He continually furnishes His people with occasion for praise,
and His praises shall eventually cover the earth.

1 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.

2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name 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 setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

7 O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:

8 The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

9 Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.

10 Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.

11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

12 Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil.

13 Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.

15 The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.

16 Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.

17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.

18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.

19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

21 But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.

22 The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:

23 That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.

24 They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.

25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.

26 Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.

27 There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of 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 company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war.

31 Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

32 Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:

33 To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.

34 Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.

35 O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.

Psalm 68:1-11 – ​The Leader of His People

   This is one of the grandest odes in literature. It was probably composed when the Ark was brought in triumph from the house of Obed-edom to the newly acquired hill of the Lord, II Samuel 6. It is evidently a processional hymn, intended to be sung by bands of white-robed priests and Levites. In this paragraph the Ark was lifted to the shoulders of its bearers, while a measured strain was chanted, Psalm 68:1-6. Then, as the procession moved forward, the march through the wilderness was recited, Psalm 68:7-11.
   Let God arise! These opening words are borrowed from the formula used by Moses, Numbers 10:35. Through the smoke of many a battlefield have they rung out! Cromwell’s “Ironsides” charged to their music. In Psalm 68:5-6 we learn that God has a special care for lonely people and prisoners. The former He introduces to families, John 19:26-27. The latter are brought out into prosperity. Psalm 68:11 seems to have a modern fulfillment in the exodus of noble women from happy homes in Christian lands to publish the gospel of Christ to the heathen. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 68:12-25 – Their Mighty Deliverer

   The processional march still continues. Presently Mount Zion comes in sight, and the neighboring hills are depicted as eying it enviously for its selection in preference to themselves. In Psalm 68:17-18 the glad throng begins to climb the sacred slopes of Zion, amid still more triumphant strains; and in Psalm 68:19, etc., the gates of the sanctuary stand wide open to welcome the festal crowds.
   How great the contrast between the blackened appearance of a smoky caldron, and the lustrous sheen of a bird’s pinions as they flash in the sunlight! Psalm 68:13. Yet that is the contrast between what we were, and what we now are. Salmon, Psalm 68:14—perhaps a reference to the wooded hill near Shechem, mentioned in Judges 9:48. The hostile kings were scattered as snowflakes are driven before the wind and melt in the sun. The hill Bashan, Psalm 68:15, is a snow-clad summit, but Zion is greater, since God is there. In the triumphant words of Psalm 68:18, the singer quotes Judges 5:12, and they are applied in Ephesians 4:8 to our Lord’s ascension. Note Psalm 68:19—that the Lord daily loadeth us with benefits. Singers, minstrels, and girls with timbrels, Psalm 68:25—all have a share in the Church’s joy. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 68:19—Blessed be the Lord, who daily beareth our burden.

​   Never tired or out of patience, that mighty God, of whose advent the psalmist is so full, daily bends beneath our burdens, and sets Himself to help us through crushing difficulties. They are unbearable to us, but to Him only a very little thing. If He taketh up the isles as a very little thing, surely your heaviest burden must be less.
   But our mistake is that we do not realize that God is bearing our burdens. We think that we must cope with them; we let ourselves worry, as though we were the loneliest, most deserted, most pitiable beings in existence, when all the while God is going beside, ready to bear our burdens. The burden of our sins; of our anxieties about ourselves, and about others; of our frailties and infirmities; the responsibility of keeping us; the pressure of our daily need—all these rest daily on our God.

       “’Tis enough that He should care;
       Why should we the burden bear!”

   Oh, do not carry your burdens for a single moment longer; pass them over to Him who has already taken your eternal interests to his heart. Only be patient, and wait on Him, and do not run to and fro seeking for help from man, or making men your consolers and confidants. Those who do this have their reward. But as for you, anoint your head and wash your face, so as not to excite the pity of others. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee” (Psalm 55:22). But, when it has been cast, leave it with Him. Refuse to yield to anxious suggestions, and forthwith burst out into a song of thankful confidence. Bless Him! Praise Him! Be glad, and rejoice! When the heart is lightened of its load, it will soar. —Our Daily Homily

Psalm 68:26-35 – ​The God of the Whole Earth

   The constituent parts of the procession are now described, and in these closing verses the triumphal note rings out. It tells of the confidence of Israel in her ultimate dominance of the world, which was to be not physical, but moral and spiritual.
   The psalmist sees tribe after tribe passing into the sanctuary, and indicates each as it goes by Zebulun and Naphtali were mentioned in Deborah’s song, already quoted. They are specially noticed here, because they who have done well in the wars of the Lord will ever be rewarded. Among the results of God’s enthronement among His people is the submission of the kings of unnamed lands. In Psalm 68:30, the company of spearmen is probably the crocodile, and refers to Egypt. Bulls and calves refer to the princes of surrounding nations and their subjects. Ethiopia reaches out her hands, offering tribute. The whole world is subdued to worship before the great God of Israel. He that giveth strength and power unto his people. Let us avail ourselves of His gracious provisions. Let us ask Him to command our strength, Psalm 68:28, 35. —Through the Bible Day by Day