Psalm 68 paints God like a glistening diamond slowly rotating on a pedestal. Read on and marvel at the multiplicity of the facets of his character – each striking and awe-inspiring.
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
may his foes flee before him.
2 May you blow them away like smoke—
as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.
God’s enemies may be mighty throngs; they may be solid, stalwart entities; but in comparison to him, they are solid as smoke and sturdy as wax before a fire. Vaporizing and melting before our God – that’s the plight of those who oppose him, no matter how powerful they are. This should inspire fear of God and great dread at the heat and light of his presence.
3 But may the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.
But the righteous he shields from the heat of his wrath. Safe in his protective force field, he invites them to rejoice, expressing mirth and gladness. Do you allow yourself merry-making? Does delight bubble up in your heart causing you to break out in spontaneous joy and elation? Allow it to do that. Identify barriers to that in your soul and knock them down one by one. Joy unspeakable and full of glory – despite your life circumstances – is your birthright as a child of God. Claim it. Live in it. Do not let the enemy steal it from you. Resolve to be transformed in the next week, month, or year and to be known as a person of joy!
4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
The Great Cloud Rider – that is the name of your God! In Psalm 18 we find him parting the heavens to come down. He mounts the cherubim and flies, he soars on the wings of the wind. He makes darkness his covering, his canopy around him – the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advance, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. He thunders from heaven, shoots arrows at his enemies and scatters them. With great bolts of lightning, he routes them. What a mighty dread champion! And the appropriate response is to break out in joyful songs of praise.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
Melt at this gentle aspect of the formidable one. He sees and cares for the downtrodden. He rises to their defense. He sees the tears and hears the sighs of the lonely and binds their lonesome hearts to others. More importantly, he binds them to his own. He breaks the chains of those bound by the powerful and changes their countenance to joyful singing.
7 When you, God, went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness,
8 the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9 You gave abundant showers, O God;
you refreshed your weary inheritance.
10 Your people settled in it,
and from your bounty, God, you provided for the poor.
While the wicked languish in the perpetually sun-scorched, unyielding wilderness, God’s shield provides abundant showers in the same wilderness to those he loves. Such is the inheritance of his beloved children. “In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty,” Ps 37:19.
When his uncle Abraham told Lot to choose where he wanted to settle, Lot surveyed the land and selfishly chose the rich, lush hills. He did not know the intimate detail that within reason, God doesn’t bless you because you go to a blessed place – he blesses places because you are there and he delights in you! So your lot in life doesn’t matter. Even in the wilderness he will cause abundant showers to refresh your weary soul. His bounty will follow you wherever you go.
11 The Lord announces the word,
and the company [feminine] who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
12 “Kings and armies flee in haste;
the women at home divide the plunder.
Behold your ‘feminist’ God. He proudly features women as being of valor as a vital part of his armed forces. He invites you women to proclaim his word. That is your war cry and before it, kings and armies flee quick-haste! One formidable battalion of sister warriors tears down spiritual strongholds in the battlefield and on the home-front another loots the enemy and divides the plunder.
I was engaged in blazing spiritual warfare for my son this past week as I sensed the enemy was trying to steal a gift from him. At one point he said to me, “you probably have half the women in Washington County praying for me, don’t you?” I laughed out loud and said, “You know it. You don’t stand a chance!” Because you precious sisters helped proclaim the word in prayer on my behalf when I blew the horn for help, I got to divide the plunder and mend a breached wall. Thank you!
13 Even while you sleep among the sheep pens,
the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver,
its feathers with shining gold.”
God’s people may be marked by humble circumstances, but they are faithfully provided for. They may have to sleep among the sheep but the sheep keep them warm and provide milk for them. Indeed it is a rich blessing that despite their circumstances, they enjoy the sweet gift of sleep which he gives to those he loves, Ps 127:2. And in the humble circumstances, his beloved has wings (splendor, power, gifts) that glimmer and shine in their gilded array.
14 When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land,
it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon.
Did the deserted weaponry on the escape routes along with clothing, and the enemies’ bodies litter the landscape like snow?
15 Mount Bashan, majestic mountain,
Mount Bashan, rugged mountain,
16 why gaze in envy, you rugged mountain,
at the mountain where God chooses to reign,
where the Lord himself will dwell forever?
God is a discriminating God. Repeatedly we see him choosing and favoring one entity over another. Interestingly, he doesn’t seem to make the best or expected choice. If you look close enough, you find that he chooses weaklings. You can see why Mt. Bashan might wrinkle its face at Mt. Zion since the former is unmistakably more majestic. God ALWAYS choses the lesser things instead of the more grand; the foolish things in order to shame the wise.
17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands
and thousands of thousands;
the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.
God has no shortage. If his chariots are in the millions, how many are his troops? Truly he is a God of angel armies whose numbers will boggle our minds when we behold them someday. Train your mind to think of his bounty, his grandeur, and his power which he gladly employs on your behalf. Marvel at the many, many aspects of your God.