Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day and support a great cause!
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
Psalms 68

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-35

Psalms 68:1-35

Psalms 68:1-35 :

Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God ( Psalms 68:1-2 ).

So, sort of a thing against the enemies of God. "Let them be scattered, let them flee as smoke sort of just disappears, is driven by the wind, so drive them. As wax melts before the fire, so let them perish in the presence of God."

But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice ( Psalms 68:3 ).

All right, righteous, be glad. Rejoice before God. In fact, exceedingly rejoice.

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name, YAH, and rejoice before him ( Psalms 68:4 ).

The Yah, the I am. And of course, in the name you have then Yashua, Yahoshaphat, so many different contractions with the Yah, but to us the important one is Yashua, which is the Hebrew for Jesus. "Extol Him by His name, Yah, and rejoice before Him."

A father of the fatherless, a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he brings out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. O God, when you went forth before your people, when you did march through the wilderness; the earth shook, the heavens dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself moved at the presence of God, and the God of Israel. Thou, O God, did send a plentiful rain, whereby you did confirm your inheritance, when it was weary. Your congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hath prepared of thy goodness for the poor. The LORD gave his word: and great was the company of those that published it. Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil. And though you have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. When the Almighty scattered kings, and it was white as snow in Salmon. The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; and the high hill is as the hill of Bashan. Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desired to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever ( Psalms 68:5-16 ).

In other words, he sees the other hills of sort of being jealous and all because God has chosen really the hill of Zion to dwell in. "Why leap ye high hills?" You know, "We're so high, it should be us, and all."

The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high ( Psalms 68:17-18 ),

Now we have here a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ quoted by Paul in the fourth chapter of the book of Ephesians. "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 may dwell among them." Paul in quoting this said, "He who has ascended is the same one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, He led the captivity captive and gave gifts unto men. And to some apostles, and to some prophets, and to some evangelists, and to some pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry for the building up of the body of Christ. Until we all come into the unity of faith, complete man, the knowledge of the Son of God, the measure, the stature, the fullness, the image of Christ." And so, Paul quotes this, "He has ascended on high; He led captivity captive." But to lead captivity captive, He went first of all in the lower parts of the earth to free those that were captive.

You see, prior to the death of Jesus Christ those Old Testament saints could not enter in to the glory of heaven. It was necessary that their sins be put away, something that the sacrifices of the Old Testament could not do. It was impossible that their sins could be put away by the blood of bulls or goats. All of the Old Testament sacrifices only were pointing to the better way that God would provide when He sent His only begotten Son to be a lamb offering, sin offering, a sacrifice for our sins. "So we are redeemed, not with corruptible things such as silver and gold from our vain empty life, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ who was slain as a lamb without spot or without blemish" ( 1 Peter 1:18-19 ). So because the blood of bulls and goats could not put away sin but only speak of the better sacrifice which was to come, their sins were covered, and they, when they died, were held by death in the grave, in Sheol or in Hades, in hell.

But hell, prior to the death of Christ, was separated into two compartments. One compartment was of suffering for the unbelievers; the other was a compartment of comfort by Abraham for those who were trusting in the promises of God and in the fulfillment of God's promise. Now these Old Testament men of faith all died in faith not having received the promise, but seeing it afar off they held onto it and they claimed that they were just strangers and pilgrims here. And they were just looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God.

Now when Jesus died, He descended into hell. He who has ascended is the one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, it is then that He led captivity captive. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 61, the prophecy concerning Christ, it said, "He is going to set at liberty those that are bound and open the prison doors to those that are bound." Set at liberty those that are chained, open the prison doors to those that are bound. Those that were bound by death, waiting with Abraham for the promise of God. When Jesus died He descended into hell and He preached to those souls that were in prison. The glorious fulfillment of God's promise. The redemptive program is complete. The blood has been shed, whereby your sins are now put away once and for all. And now with their sins put away, they can ascend into the heavenly scene. So when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. And then He gave gifts unto men. That is, within the church, He gave gifted men as apostles, as prophets, as evangelists, as pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the saints. So, Paul quotes this in Ephesians 4:1-32 , and of course, it just ties together a whole group of scriptures. Luke, the sixteenth chapter; Acts, chapter 2; and Ephesians, chapter 4; and the reference there in Peter where He went and preached to those souls in prison; and Isaiah 61:1-11 . So you can look those up and find them tied together.

Blessed be the LORD, who daily loads us with benefits ( Psalms 68:19 ),

I love that! Oh, blessed be the Lord, who daily just loads me down with the benefits of being His servant. Benefits of walking with Him. Oh, what benefits are mine in Christ Jesus.

even the God of our salvation. He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the LORD belongs the issues of death ( Psalms 68:19-20 ).

Our times are actually in God's hands. It's appointed unto man once to die, and unto God the Lord belong the issues of death.

But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such as those that go on still in his trespasses. The LORD said, I will bring again from Bashan, and I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of your enemies, and the tongue of the dogs in the same. They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary. The singers went before, the players on the instruments ( Psalms 68:21-25 )

And now here he is describing the worship of God in the sanctuary. "You've seen the going of God in the sanctuary," and now he is going to describe a little bit. First of all, in the procession the singers are in the front. Following them are those players of instruments--the symbols, the trumpets and all. Followed after them

were the young girls playing on their timbrels. Bless ye God in the congregations, even the LORD, from the fountain of Israel ( Psalms 68:25-26 ).

So he sees now, and of course, you know, we've come to sort of a stilted form of the worship of God. We gather together. We sit in pews. We sit in rows. We are regimented and all. And we come and we have sort of a lecture on the Word of God, but I am sure that there is an area for a diversity in our worship. You know, where they were entering in, even. Singers were in the front as they were entering singing praises unto God, followed by the band playing their instruments, followed by the drill team, the young damsels with their timbrels, as they were playing on the timbrels unto the Lord.

When you go to Jerusalem on Friday evening at the beginning of Sabbath, we always like to spend one Friday evening at the Western Wall, as the people gather to worship the Lord on the Sabbath day. And really the excitement of the evening is when these young Jewish boys come down from the school. And they come down about four across, several rows of them, their arms over each other, and they come down chanting and dancing. Sort of a little dance step and all, their arms around each other, and they are chanting. And of course, this is the highlight of the evening when these kids come on down to worship the Lord there by the Western Wall. And they do this little dance step coming in. And as they get down by the wall, they start then their songs and their chants as they sort of get in a circle, and they start dancing around the circle various dances and all unto the Lord. And then after about a half hour of this kind of worship and praise, then they put their arms around each other and dance back up the hill, chanting and singing their praises unto God, as they go back up the hill. And it is a very moving, touching sight. And I think that this is exciting. I think that there is a place for a more of a demonstrative worship unto God. You know, we are coming into the sanctuary to worship Him. Oh, it should be an exciting experience.

"Enter into His presence with thanksgiving, enter into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him and bless His name" ( Psalms 100:4 ). You see people gathering, and they are honking their horns, "Get out of my way! I'm going to church today." And by the time we get here, we really need it. Rather than coming in with a joyful heart, a heart that is overflowing with praises unto God in anticipation of worshipping Him.

Now he looks at the congregation that's assembled and,

There is little Benjamin with their ruler [the small tribe of Benjamin over there and there they are in their place with their ruler], and there are the princes of Judah and their council, and there are the princes of Zebulun, and there over there are the princes of Naphtali. Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which you have wrought for us. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring their presents unto thee ( Psalms 68:27-29 ).

This, of course, is again looking forward to the Kingdom Age, when the kings of the earth come and offer their presents unto Christ.

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. Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands unto God. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth [the glorious Kingdom Age]; O sing praises unto the Lord: To him that rideth upon the heaven of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice. Ascribe strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, his strength is in the clouds. O God, thou art awesome out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God ( Psalms 68:30-35 ).

So the glorious worship of God in the Kingdom Age; it is going to be exciting. The singers coming in, the instruments, the girls with their timbrels and all, and the congregation as they rise to worship the Lord. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 68". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/psalms-68.html. 2014.
Ads FreeProfile