I Praise You, Lord, for who You are and what You have done for me.
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!
a Psalm 68:1 In Hebrew texts 68:1-35 is numbered 68:2-36.
b Psalm 68:4 Or name, / prepare the way for him who rides through the deserts
c Psalm 68:6 Or the desolate in a homeland
d Psalm 68:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 19 and 32.
e Psalm 68:13 Or the campfires; or the saddlebags
f Psalm 68:14 Hebrew Shaddai
g Psalm 68:17 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text Lord is among them at Sinai in holiness
h Psalm 68:18 Or gifts for people, / even
i Psalm 68:18 Or they
j Psalm 68:28 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint and Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts Your God has summoned power for you
k 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.
ReflectTry to think of at least three things you love about God and three things he has done for you.
Previously, we saw how Nehemiah’s deep knowledge of and relationship with God equipped him to withstand the attacks that came his way.
It is likely that psalms like this were part of the formation of that intimacy. These psalms telling of God’s glories and power have a couple of purposes—they give God the praise he deserves, but at the same time they teach us truth and prepare us for when trials come.
We humans are forgetful creatures. We need to keep repeating the truths of God’s character and his deeds—out loud, if possible—to really embed them in our memories. This is one reason why traditional churches have liturgies and repeated prayers, and why we all sing “psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit” of one form or another (Col. 3:16). It’s not brain-washing but its close relation, brain-training. By filling our minds repeatedly with truth and praise, we train them to hold this information and draw on it when needed.
To trust God and to remember to trust him when things get tough, we have to invest time in learning who he is, what he is like and what he has done.
There’s no time like the present! Read through the psalm again, thanking God for all it teaches us. Look at what it says about his character, the way he relates to us and his salvation.
Loving God, reveal Your character to me.