Saturday, June 4, 2011

Reflecting on the Psalms: Chapter 68

Psalm 68

To the chief Musician, A Psalm or Song of David.

1Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.
2As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
3But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.
4Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
5A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
6God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
7O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:
8The 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.
9Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.
10Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
11The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
12Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil.
13Though 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.
14When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.
15The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.
16Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.
17The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.
18Thou 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.
19Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
20He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.
21But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.
22The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:
23That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.
24They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.
25The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.
26Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.
27There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.
28Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.
29Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee.
30Rebuke 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.
31Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.
32Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:
33To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.
34Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.

35O 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.

Chapter 68

Matthew Henry comments on the first few verse by stating the following, "None ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. God is the joy of his people, then let them rejoice when they come before him. He who derives his being from none, but gives being to all, is engaged by promise and covenant to bless his people." I know that when God comes, enemies flee (v. 1). When God showed up during my darkest moment, Satan fleed as well as perished (v. 2). I continue to rejoice in God for His freeing me from that time (v. 3) as well as praise Him for stuff in general. I guess at the time, I saw His glory in His deliverance and the fact that no one is more powerful than Him. I remembering feeling so renewed once God deliverance came upon me and once His work started in that. It's amazing thing to experience His power at work, especially when He touches you to let you know He's with you. JAH is one of His names (v. 4) and I rejoice when in His presence. God's presence -- or rather God's touch -- is something that warrants praise alone, which is what is implied by "and rejoice before him." I am not fatherless nor am I a widow (v. 5), but I imagine that I would still have a relationship with Him if I did. I can't really relate to verse 6, but if I was able to, I would experience God's giving me to a family as well as being freed from chains if I were to relate to it. I suppose, spiritually speaking, I was freed from the chains Satan had me in. I'm not sure if the verse (also) has spiritual application, but it's something I'd like to explore at a later time. Matthew Henry comments on verses 6-7 are as follows, "Fresh mercies should put us in mind of former mercies. If God bring his people into a wilderness, he will be sure to go before them in it, and to bring them out of it. He provided for them, both in the wilderness and in Canaan. The daily manna seems here meant. And it looks to the spiritual provision for God's Israel." I probably won't go through a literal wilderness, but I did during my darkest moment and God was with me since it was -- no pun intended -- unfamiliar territory. The enemy shook (v. 8) and left me alone, which was how God provided for me. Verses 9-10 deal with God's providing nature in more detail. I remember just a shower of His love over when He was working as a way of His reminding that He was with me. I think through that, I became aware of God's touch and what it is like and what effect it has. I'd say its effect was a rather reassuring one and it helped to bring me closer to Him because as a result of it, I wanted more of Him and less of me. In verse 9, where it says, "whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary" it is talking about being restored or renewed, which I mentioned earlier, so just look at my comments for that. And as a result of being renewed, I continued to dwell in Him (v. 10), which resulted in experience His blessings, such as passing high school and all that jazz. When God spoke (v. 11), the enemy fleed (v. 12). During my darkest moment and applying those verses to it, it was as if God's influence was what told Satan to flee. It reminds that words can have a powerful effect, especially on negative influences. I'm not sure if I can really relate to verses 13-14, but to clarify them here's Henry's thoughts: "When they reach heaven, all remains of their sinful state disappear, they shall be as the wings of the dove, covered with silver, and her feathers as gold. Full salvation will render those white as snow, who were vile and loathsome through the guilt and defilement of sin." I think that's cool that no sin will be with me when I enter heaven. To me, that means that I won't have burdens to carry and that God's not gonna hold anything against me. It's gonna be an awesome to be cleansed from all that sin as well as experience God's forgiveness, which seems to be symbolized by the "wings of a dove" aspect. In a previous reflection, I mentioned Isaiah 1:18 in reference to anotoher verse and in verse 14, I am reminded of Isaiah 1:18 once again because it's bsaically saying that my sins will be washed away and become white, but in this passage it seems to be in an eterntiy with God sense.

Since God's hill is high (v. 15), I can depened on Him and He'll never fail me. He's helped me to pass math tests in school and I think the height of His hill was what made the difference. If His hill was a low thing, I wouldn't have a firm foundation in it and would most likely fail. Since God's dwelling is eternal, that means that my relationship with Him is eternal and since it's set on such a high rock, nothing can cause it fall over even though it may be envied, which is what is implied by, "Why leap ye, ye high hills?" In verse 17, "chariots" is meant to be figurative, and according to Bullinger, it means "ascribing to God what belongs to human and rational beings, irrational creatures, or inanimate things." In other words, mutilple things belong to God and God is among those things, even as He is among Sinai. I don't have much to add to that verse, but it's reminder that all that I have ultimately belongs to Him. God has freed me from the rebels (v. 18), which I suppose was something that He did during my darkest moment. In verse 19, "who loadeth us with benefits" means that God bears the burdens of those who ask Him to in prayer. For the not so theologically minded, in order God to bear my burdens, I have to ask Him to forgive of the sins I've committed during the day. I am thankful that God deals with my burdens because I don't think I could do it myself. And by His bearing my burdens, my salvation is not, I guess you could say lost, since there is the no sin that gets in the way of it. I though I'd share Henry's thoughts on verses 20-21, "The Lord Jesus has authority and power to rescue his people from the dominion of death, by taking away the sting of it from them when they die, and giving them complete victory over it when they rise again. The crown of the head, the chief pride and glory of the enemy, shall be smitten; Christ shall crush the head of the serpent." I think that when I came to Christ, one of the things that resulted from it was being free from the sting of death. Even though I wasn't living a lifestyle where I was a slave to sin before, I was still saved from that in the long run, which I thank Him for. God even crushed Satan's head (v. 21) when I gave my life over to His Son, which resulted in me being free from the possibility from living for sin. If Christ had not crushed the enemy's head, I would have been living a lifestyle of sin and pleasures of the flesh, which wouldn't have been a good thing. Henry's thoughs on verses 22-24, "The victories with which God blessed David over the enemies of Israel, are types of Christ's victory, for himself and for all believers. Those who take him for theirs, may see him acting as their God, as their King, for their good, and in answer to their prayers; especially in and by his word and ordinances." I am thankful for the victory God has blessed me with and that I can share that victory since He has brought us from the depth of the sea (v. 22), which I would assume has to do something with His triumph over the enemy. I'm not sure how I would relate to verse 23, but it seems to be talking about the fate of enemies and the removal of their influence from God's people. God's work is revealed in the sanctuary (v. 24). Although I'm not quite sure what that verse means, it reminds me of when people talk about their walk with God and has He worked in it as well as His work in their lives, say if they were drug addicts before coming to Christ. And how He has worked in others' lives can be encouraging to me because if I'm stuck in my walk, I can see where I need to be if I'm dealing with a similar thing that someone else has. I imagine my talking about my walk with God can be encouraging to others in case they've just came came to Christ or they need to make a change in their Christian life. Kinda cool how it can work both ways. Verse 25 reminds me of worship time in church because there are singers, a few people who play instruments, and one person who plays timbrels or drums. I don't have much else to say about that, but verse 26 does add to it. In church, I do engage in worship when I'm not taking care of worship host stuff and I do bless or praise and one of the reasons I praise Him would be because of the good things He's done in my life and in the lives of others (v. 24). Knowing that He does great things and helps people out reveals that He's work and I'm glad that that shows that His spirit is alive and active and such a powerful, wonderful thing. If God didn't do great things, that'd probably be one of the reasons I wouldn't praise Him, especially if I was a non-believer. Not to say that my faith relies on God's great works, but rather that believing is seeing. I can't relate to verse 27, but in verse 28 I am reminded of God's strength and His providing nature of it. "That which thou hast wrought for us" is talking about God's strength as He has strengthened His people before. I'm glad that God's OK with me asking for His strength more than once because if I could use it only once, I'd fail without it.

Think I'll cover verses 29-35 now. I can't say that I can personally relate to verse 29, but I will say that I use my gifts for God -- such as my art and writing. Here are Henry's comments on verses 29-31, "A powerful invitation is given to those that are without, to join the church. Some shall submit from fear; overcome by their consciences, and the checks of Providence, they are brought to make peace with the church. Others will submit service of God, and in the gospel of Christ which went forth from Jerusalem, which is enough to invite sinners out of all nations." I'd say that I submitted out of wanting to serve God because that saved me what could have been a sinful lifestyle. I suppose verse 31 relates to that since it is talking about Ethiopia's submission to God. Henry comments on verses 32-35, "God is to be admired and adored with reverence and godly fear, by all that attend in his holy places. The God of Israel gives strength and power unto his people. Through Christ strengthening us we can do all things, not otherwise; therefore he must have the glory of all we do, with our humble thanks for enabling us to do it, and for accepting the work of his hands in us." I think pretty much hit the nail on the head and in verse 32 I am reminded of worship time to church when I sing to the Lord with my brothers and sisters in Christ. That's always a wonderful thing, especially when the Holy Spirit is working through the service and touching His people. During worship time and during my personal time, I praise Him for His strength and power (v. 34) and I am reminded by "and his strength is in the clouds" that strength comes from Him when I ask Him for it. Verse 35 is basically a reiteration of verse 34 in the sense of praising God for the strength, which I don't see much need to repeat.

                                             Sources used:

Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Psalms 68". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
on the Whole Bible". <>. 

Bullinger, E.W. The Companion Bible.

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