Thursday, Aug 17th

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Psalm 68

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A Psalm written by David and handed to the Chief Musician, Asaph.

God rides the heavens; He gives His people many benefits; He is the destroyer of enemies. Today, these simple facts are ignored or forgotten, as Christians refuse to repent of their gross ignorance and the sin of pride, allowing enemies to grow in large numbers. These enemies hate us and want to see us hidden away in a dark corner, if we cannot be killed! But, the atheist Hitchens is now dead and waiting for judgment. His friend, Dawkins, will soon be with him. Their combined hatred for God is already turning against them as they await the day Christ comes again to send them to hell. At that time their human cleverness will be exposed for what it is – stupidity and futility'; no-one can reject God and live!

It is well for every one of us to meditate on Who God is and His mighty power. He is the ONLY authority... not earthly men who loathe morality and purity. Satan is getting ready for his big, last push, but he knows he is defeated. So, his push is one of intense wrath against God and His people. We see it in the wickedness of men and women who follow him, shackled to his heinous demands, remorselessly carried out by those who hate us.

But, do not look at their faces, for they are condemned by God and will soon be no more; they have no power or authority. Even as they run through our streets with glee vaunting their sins, protected by evil human agencies, the angel of death follows and will soon overtake them. The end of our enemies is nigh, for Christ's return is imminent. Look to Him and not to our enemies... who are already counted as dead.

Verses 1-3

[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.

In this Psalm we see a definite statement – that God WILL cause His enemies, and ours, to scatter. "Let God arise"! Several attitudes in scripture describe the position of ourselves and God; for example, sitting, sleeping or laying down, standing, walking, and so on. Here, we see God has been sitting – a condition of rest and authority – but is now arising, quwm. In this context it means to stand in readiness to be hostile to enemies, to show His power; to fulfil His divine authority.

This does not mean God ignores what happens to us, or that He rests when He ought to be acting on our behalf. God has supreme authority and power; He has no need to prove it, though He often does. He arises when there is a need to do so: not a need in our eyes, but a need in His own eyes, which can be different.

We know that 'arise' in this text means to be hostile, because the phrase is qualified by what follows: "let his enemies be scattered". This is no gentle dismissal of enemies, but an active attack, to the death if God considers it necessary. The enemies will flee before Him; we know they are enemies because they "hate" Him and His people...much as enemies today hate us as well as the God we serve.

God will drive them away easily, as if they were mere smoke from a fire. "Smoke" carries the idea of anger by the enemy, 'ashan. God simply waves his hand and the smoke disappears, "driven away", nadaph: thrust down, shaken, tossed back and forth. God does not give enemies an easy time, but makes sure they KNOW they are under God's curse. We must likewise let them know.

Those who hate us and God will melt away like wax in a fire. The word 'wax' includes the idea of melting, thus enemies are 'made' to be driven away. They are as dross before a mighty tempest! The wax "melteth", macac – grows fearful and faint; it is worthless and wasted. The fire it is melted by is divine, theophanic, indicative of God's anger which cannot be quenched.

Make no mistake, the enemies we have today are driven by Satan, but God is greater, and His anger will drive them to extinction. It WILL happen, even though they appear to be strong right now. "So let the wicked perish"! They will not perish at the sight or sound of us, but "at the presence of God". If we look to the Lord and plead our case, He will come to our aid; He is not surprised by our woes or fears, but has been moving to help us since before this age began.

We must bear the weight of our own errors and laxity, but God will not leave us as dust under the feet of the wicked. When we repent, He will come in great force, destroying those who are evil. He MUST do so, for otherwise His holy Name is sullied, and He must give solace to those who believe. The wicked will "perish", 'abad. They will die, be exterminated, destroyed by divine judgement.

Like Lot's wife we must not turn back to see the destruction, for we thus align ourselves with the wicked, and will ourselves be destroyed. Today, many align with wicked men and women whose lives are an abomination. We cannot, in any way, help them or be with them in any sense, but must get far away from them; they are under God's curse and if we remain with them we will ourselves be exterminated. Do not waste your sentiment on the wicked, who are already condemned by Almighty God! Let the wicked perish before God! Give them no quarter or help.

On the other hand, "let the righteous be glad" and "rejoice before God". Let their rejoicing be great! We can rejoice because God obliterates our enemies, not that we rejoice emotionally in their destruction, but spiritually, because God has acted on our behalf, and to protect His glorious Name. Few modern Christians have the courage to stand firm and to harden their hearts against sin. Thus, they soften like butter and are shaped by evil men to accept their sins under the guise of holiness. Our world is now rife with wickedness because of this sad error on the part of supposed believers.

Verses 4-6

[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.

Sing to God! Sing His praises! Rejoice that JAH controls Heaven and rides upon it as a general rides his war horse, because He Who controls Heaven controls everything! The name of the One Who thus rules Heaven is JAH (Yahh). It is a proper noun applied to deity, a shortened form of Jehovah. (Note that it is used in names beginning with 'Je', e.g. Jeremiah; and ending with 'iah' or 'jah' – such as Isaiah and Elijah). As a contraction of Jehovah, JAH means exactly the same. You may notice that the Hebrew vowel, A, is inserted. This is because fear of using God's holy name came late to the Hebrews – it has not always been so, but is an human imposition (YHWH or the modern G-d) without scriptural warrant.

As Lord of His creation, God is Father to those who are lonely or without family; He judges those who refuse to help widows and others deserving of help. Both tie-in with what Christ said to the Pharisees. "God (is) in his holy habitation". A fairly modern saying is that "All is well, because God is in His Heaven". It means we can take comfort that God is in control of everything; we are not left to the sinful hatred and demands of Satan or his demonic and human minions.

Though it might appear that sin has the upper hand, we can be assured that the predominance of sin is allowed by God for His own purposes – to awaken the righteous, to cause them to repent, to call them to action. We suffer awhile because of our stupidity and sleep, but though the fault is ours, God will continue to come to our side if we repent.

Those who are alone, He will guide to others who will be their spiritual family. Many around the world are isolated from God's people; many are alone in a crowd – even in cities the majority are wicked, or know not God. But, God knows their plight and provides company with God's people at some time. Why does He allow some to remain isolated? He wants them to see it as a trial of faith, to strengthen them for times of woe, to rely only on Him. Then, when they have this strength, He leads them to the physical company of fellow believers.

Those who are presently in bondage to the wicked, or to sin itself, or to what enemies do to them, will have their chains cut asunder. Wickedness abounds on every side right now, with the stench of evil heavy in the nostrils, but it will not always be so. Even at the very end, Satan will be stopped dead in his tracks, and peace will ensue; his minions, the wicked, will also be silenced. Then comes the Lord in judgment!

We are not alone; but are given the privilege of being hated by those who hate Christ. We seem alone, but we are not. We are to live for the Lord, even if we have no fellow believers to be at our side. When we show our faithfulness in this, God will give us what we desire. The idea of being brought out of our chains includes prosperity and the best of everything.

The rebellious, on the other hand, will not know this lushness of God's grace and blessings. Rather, they will have to endure being in a dry land, a desert without sustenance and water, parched and scorched; their lives will be arid and without protection. The "rebellious" are stubborn, not listening to the Almighty, living at a tangent from God's will.

Anything at a tangent only touches upon God slightly for a moment and then flies away into nothing, away from God. This refers to people who know God, but decide at some point to live apart from Him, doing what they think is best and sinning. Their lives are never blessed, though they claim otherwise. Sadly, many who claim to be saved, or to know God, live on their own terms. That is, they sin. Many say they 'believe in God' – but this is nothing, for even Satan believes in God (which makes him far more intelligent than atheists!).

Verses 7-10

[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.

When God accompanied the Hebrews through the deserts to the Red Sea, He went before them as a great beacon. And when they slept, He was behind them, as a divine protector. When He was with the people, the earth shook... its Creator was present! Do YOU know when God is present?

The heavens (the sky) dropped as He stayed alongside His chosen people. Sinai rumbled and shook as Moses received the tablets of God. For He is "the God of Israel"! This partially describes the fear we should have of God, though He saves us. Do you have this fear within? Do you look upon him with awe in everyday life?

In the wilderness God provided for the people, sending "plentiful rain". As always, things given by God are in abundance. The word "plentiful" means of God's will, voluntarily, and the word '"rain" in this context, geshem, does not mean any rain, but heavy rain, even violent. By sending such plentiful rain, God proved the people belonged to Him... they were to enjoy His inheritance, even when times were hard and God seemed far away. The 'rain' has reference, too, to the provision of manna and dew, which rightfully follows on from reference to the journey through the desert.

The people ("congregation") lived amongst the blessings of God, and the poor shared in God's goodness. They shared because it was God's intention to help those who were lowly.

Verses 11-15

[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.

"The Lord gave the word". That is, 'Adonay: spoke/gave His promise, and "great was the company of those that published it." God commanded and everyone obeyed. It was this obedience that made Israel great – something for modern men to understand if they want to see God praised in the nation and their own wellbeing assured! Where is the "great... company" to voice the commands of God today? Modern Christians are too concerned to hide and be 'balanced' to be true prophets and preachers. They are salt that has lost its savour... useless.

Armies and their leaders ran in fear from God and the soldiers of David. His men took what they found of the spoil, at their leisure. "Though ye have a lien among the pots" is a difficult text to interpret. A lien is, today, a legal term. In the text it is shakab, meaning to lie down, which can have one of several meanings, such as to literally lay down, to have sexual relations, to stay, to die, to relax.

The verse appears to refer to those who stay behind after the enemy has run away, to take what they can of the spoil, at their own leisure; they rest amongst the goods (pots). As they take rest after taking the spoil, they are said to be as doves covered with silver and gold. So, victorious in war, they shared what the enemy left behind, as did the women (re the pots), though they did not kill anyone... God spread fear and that was enough. It is what we should seek today – that God will spread mind-numbing fear amongst our enemies... homosexuals, atheists, all who hate us... that nations return to God, or at least fear Him.

When fighting against the wicked we must be white as snow, pure and unadulterated. Though tempted, we must not copy their methods or their evil reactions. At all times we must show godliness and holiness, with staunch resolve and strength, gained by obeying the Lord in all things. Call on the lord to scatter the enemy, but remain "white as snow in Salmon". (Tsalmown/Zalmon='shady', a woody hill near Shechem, Samaria, covered with pure white snow). We, the Church of Jesus Christ, MUST always be white as snow... are we?

The Church is "as the (high) hill of Bashan (Ed. Mount Hermon)". (Bashan=fruitful, east of the Jordan, very fertile with mighty oak trees. Also famed for its fierce bulls and abundance of cattle). Are we fruitful, fertile in belief and action, and yet fierce in our defence of the Lord's word? Is His Church holy and full of divine victory?

Verses 16-19

[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.

That the 'hill' equals the Church is found in the words of verse 16: "this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in". In David's day it equalled Mount Hermon. Today, God is in every believer, His Church: "yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever". Hermon means 'sanctuary', so this fits the idea of God in us, and we in God.

God has countless chariots of war and even more angels. God is amongst them, just as He was on mount Sinai giving the law to Moses. We are talking about Almighty God, King of kings, Lord of all, with unbounded power and authority! David trusted in this God, and so should we. The dogs are snapping around us, trying to do us harm. If we obey God and live righteously, He will destroy them with His word.

So, do not cower in abject fear of evil men. Instead, stand tall and proclaim God's superiority over them. They are only created beings, riddled with sin; their enemy is God the Creator, whose lowest angel can destroy a million enemy! There is no contest!

God has driven the enemy from the mountain and killed them. He has captured the high ground and taken the enemy prisoner. Sin has been vanquished, so all it can do right now is taunt us and tempt! God has showered benefits on all men and has even benefitted those who rebel with sin amongst His people.

Indeed, He has loaded us with gifts, because He is the blessed Lord of our salvation. What a happy load to carry! If all loads were of God, we would not need to worry, nor would we be tired. But, too many Christians prefer their work, self-earned benefits, and leisure, to bother obeying God and learning at His feet. They rarely think of Him in any useful manner, and think their time in a pew satisfies God and themselves.

Verses 20-23

[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.

God is the God of our help. He saves/delivers us. No-one else can do that. God is powerful and even commands death itself, for He is its source and can give escape from it or drive us to it. Though He has this power, He uses it against the enemy, wounding them vitally and fatally. Though He does this, the wicked defiantly continue to live wickedly. We see this today, all around us. Even so, God is Lord and will finally devour all who hate Him.

God's people were driven away to distant places, into the sea and up mountains, for hiding places. But, God will bring them back again. In our day, the enemy are pressing hard and have won important support, but the day of reckoning is coming, very soon. God will cause the enemy to be caught in their own traps, and obliterated. God will bring us back to holy prominence and we will step into the blood of the enemy, wiping our feet on their beaten bodies. Their blood will be licked by the dogs, indicating their shame. There will be no respite, nor salvation, for the evil ones.

Pray for our preservation. Pray for our deliverance. Repent first and be holy. Then expect God to act in defence of us. Let us not bleed with the enemy, but stay apart as holy and pure. Let us walk through the piles of bodies and not be one of them.

Verses 24-27

[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.

In David's day the people saw what God did to the enemy, and rejoiced. They witnessed what He did and glorified the Lord. Few do this today. So they see no respite or help. In particular, we see nothing of good coming from the modern sanctuary of God's churches. Instead, they steep themselves in tradition and useless talk; they act as cowards and do not testify to God's power.

But, David speaks of the singers and musicians glorifying God in the Temple, and young women dancing in praise with timbrels, producing an holy sound to the Lord Who saved them. God is the fount of Israel and the Church; let Him be praised amongst the people in the churches. Let everyone, even those who rule, be amongst the people who offer praise to God, including the smallest tribe of Benjamin, as well as all the princes of Judah, with their ruling classes, plus the princes of Zebulun and Naphtali... from the very lowest to the very highest, let us all praise God.

Verses 28-32

[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:

We should not be seeing the strength of the enemy nor be subjected to his onerous commands! We are under his fist because we have failed as believers. Why are we not like the people at the time of this Psalm – God commanding our strength? We have become deliberately weak; we have enjoyed our comfort too much; we have sat down with wicked men, to share their evil gains; we have remained silent when we should have spoken out. God help our unbelief!

When we once again turn back to the Lord He will do what He did for David, and will strengthen whatever He has given us. It is He Who gives us the strength... we do not get it by our own efforts. Let all Arminianism be damned (which it is)! God has already given us what is necessary, but we fritter it away as if it were nothing. We must return and be glad, return and obey, return and be strong.

Note something very important – because of the Temple at Jerusalem, surrounding kings paid homage to it and gave it presents, because it was where God lived. Today, where God is supposed to be – amongst His people in local churches – is destitute, in rags. It warrants no presents or homage! We must rebuild the Temple so that people will, once again, see worth in its people. The Temple today is every local church... but where are the saved and those who obey?

David called on the Temple priests to rebuke men of war and all who shunned God. They had to rebuke the bringing of many bulls for sacrifice without the accompanying hearts of obedience. In David's day they repented with silver in the coffers and had to turn from delight in war. Today, the equivalent is for Christians to repent and turn to genuine praise and worship. Not the pretence of charismatic 'worship', which is nothing more than religious rock music and self-adulation!

When we return to God the princes of Egypt will visit and do homage and the rulers of Ethiopia will do the same. In other words, when the people of God are serious about their salvation, they will spread God's commands around the world as worthy and honourable. Instead of being a parody, God will once more be the Father of nations and One to be listened to, and His people will be raised in the eyes of the world. Will it happen? It could in parts... but the great apostasy is now coming upon us. We must fight against it as well as praise God in truth and love. We must sing unto God... EVERY nation on earth! Or, just on our own if necessary.

Verses 33-35

[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.

God is in His Heaven, as He has been from eternity. Nothing has changed, except for his people, who, like yo-yo's, go up and down in their praises and obedience! Oh that we were consistent. Despite our human failures, God rules as He always has done. His mighty voice calls out, demanding truth and praise. Do you hear it amidst the clamour of wicked men?

God is strong, stronger than any enemy. Do you see it? He rules over Israel, just as He did in the days of David. He rules from Heaven and is found in the clouds... He is everywhere and has complete control over all His Creation. Why, then, do we now see chaos? We see it because the people of the world have risen up in wrath and sin, whilst the people of God have hidden and stayed quiet, refusing to speak for the Lord. This horror rests on our shoulders. We cannot escape its judgment.

We must look again at Who God truly is. "O God, [thou art] terrible out of thy holy places"! God is awesome. He deserves our praise and honour. His thunder travels around the world with rebuke as we allow evil men to rule and take over our lives. Yet, He is the God of Israel, OUR God. It is He Who gives strength. Note that he also gives us power! This has been promised to us in the New Testament, too. Do you believe it? Then where is your power? Do not just believe it –USE IT. Then we can really shout "Blessed be God"... for we will experience what He has given in abundance. You must be that one man or one woman who causes the world to stand still and listen! God is all-power... remind the unsaved of this vital truth.

 

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