GOD IN ACTION
Father in heaven, who listens to my every word, even my every thought, who sees my every action and lack of action, I commit all that I am to bring you glory today.
Read PSALM 68
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.
1 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.
3 But may the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.
4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds[b];
rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,[c]
he leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
7 When you, God, went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,[d]
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.
11 The Lord announces the word,
and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:
12 “Kings and armies flee in haste;
the women at home divide the plunder.
13 Even while you sleep among the sheep pens,[e]
the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver,
its feathers with shining gold.”
14 When the Almighty[f] scattered the kings in the land,
it was like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon.
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?
17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands
and thousands of thousands;
the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.[g]
18 When you ascended on high,
you took many captives;
you received gifts from people,
even from[h] the rebellious—
that you,[i] Lord God, might dwell there.
19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.
20 Our God is a God who saves;
from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.
21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins.
22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan;
I will bring them from the depths of the sea,
23 that your feet may wade in the blood of your foes,
while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”
24 Your procession, God, has come into view,
the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
25 In front are the singers, after them the musicians;
with them are the young women playing the timbrels.
26 Praise God in the great congregation;
praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel.
27 There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them,
there the great throng of Judah’s princes,
and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.
28 Summon your power, God[j];
show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.
29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem
kings will bring you gifts.
30 Rebuke the beast among the reeds,
the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations.
Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver.
Scatter the nations who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come from Egypt;
Cush[k] will submit herself to God.
32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.
Praise be to God!
- Psalm 68:1 In Hebrew texts 68:1-35 is numbered 68:2-36.
- Psalm 68:4 Or name, / prepare the way for him who rides through the deserts
- Psalm 68:6 Or the desolate in a homeland
- Psalm 68:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 19 and 32.
- Psalm 68:13 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
- Psalm 68:14 Hebrew Shaddai
- Psalm 68:17 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text Lord is among them at Sinai in holiness
- Psalm 68:18 Or gifts for people, / even
- Psalm 68:18 Or they
- Psalm 68:28 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts Your God has summoned power for you
- Psalm 68:31 That is, the upper Nile region
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIf you had to choose music to accompany a Christian march, what would it be?
Sometimes it’s right to face head-on the puzzles and challenges in the Scriptures. Other days, it is fine to simply accept the blessing of discovering more about God and his goodness. Psalm 68 is rich in eternal truths. The psalm begins with a call for God to arise, to manifest himself (vs 1-3). In so many ways, the following verses can be seen as an answer to that prayer. See whether you can locate the following in today’s psalm.
First, God’s enemies are blown away and melted. It is not even a contest. Then, to his own people, he is the ultimate source of joy and singing. (It is thought that this psalm might have been sung as the ark of the covenant was carried up to Jerusalem, 2 Samuel 6:12.) Next, we find a wonderful account of the Lord we can know for real, but whom no one would imagine. In one verse he is the classic divine being ‘who rides on the clouds’ (v 4) but then, in the next breath, he is the one who cares for orphans, captives, and the lonely. He makes the earth shake but then waters it, giving special attention to the land of the poor. He steps down from leading his millions of chariots in order to personally carry our burdens. Awesome beyond our conceiving—yet he delights to save the smallest among us.
As you praise the Lord, picture the procession detailed in verses 24-27.
Sovereign Lord, there is no one like you. There is no one else who can fill my greatest need and yet attend to the smallest of my concerns. Nothing about me passes you by. Indeed, you are the great lover of my soul.
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