“God shall arise, His enemies shall be scattered.” David knew that the enemies of Israel could never defeat the Lord. He looked to the day when God would rise up and show His power. The people of the Almighty would not only be saved from those that sought their lives, they would be captivated by the glory of their God.
Who is this God that Israel worshiped? David tells us in his song. He is the protector of the weak and the defender of the widow and the orphan. He surprises those who have lost all hope, giving them good gifts that are beyond their happiest imagination. He is also the judge who will cause the lowly to rise up, but who will bring their persecutors to ruin.
The Lord God of Israel had proven His power in the past. Centuries before David was born, God had led Israel through the wilderness, providing for them in their desperate need. Jehovah was not only the God of the past, He was also the Lord of the future. One day He would put good news in the mouths of His beloved women. They would announce the defeat of powerful enemies and enjoy the rich gospel blessings that the Lord would surely bestow upon His people.
The Lord would never forget His chosen people. He who descended from heaven to save us would surely ascend again to the place of His holy abode. He would lead “a host of captives” with Him. He would receive the free gifts of mankind and bestow the best blessings of eternity upon His people.
One day there would be a great victory procession that would lead all the way up to the sanctuary of God in heaven. The Lord of the resurrection would lead His “prisoners” to the place of highest praise. They would not arrive in that great realm as despondent exiles, but would be singing with joyful worship. The great throng of the redeemed would include not only the elect from the tribes of Israel, but also kings from among the Gentiles who would gladly bow before the Lord of glory.
Until that great day of the coming Messiah, David and the people of Israel could boldly call upon the Name of the Most High. They could bring their petitions to the Lord with confidence. The false gods of their adversaries would be rebuked and defeated. The Lord who would one day bring even nobles from far off nations to stretch out their hands in worship to Israel’s God could certainly care for His people right now.
As David and all of the Lord’s worshipers from among the people of Israel waited for deliverance, they boldly addressed the other nations of the earth in their song. “O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God!” They invited them to join Israel in the worship of one true and living God.
We who have heard the news of the cross and the resurrection have the privilege of knowing the story of the victory of Jesus. We have also been given the gift and duty of singing these gospel tidings among all the people groups of the earth. 1000 years after David wrote Psalm 68, the Apostle Paul was able to quote this song in his letter to a largely Gentile church in the city of Ephesus. He went on to give this explanation of this ancient composition: “In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that He had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.” (Ephesians 4:9-10)
We who were once far off from the covenant promises of God to Israel have been drawn near to the Lord through His blood. His death and resurrection were for us. We are among the rejoicing throng of worshipers ascending with Him in order to enjoy Him forever.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, there are enemies who would threaten the safety of Your family. What will You do, Father? You are the Protector and Defender of Your people. No matter how desperate our condition may seem, You will bring us the exact help that we need. Speak, Lord, for Your servants listen. Send forth Your men and women to speak of Your glory. There is no one like You, for You are a towering mountain over everything that You have created. Make us to dwell with men and angels who will praise You forever. You have brought us back from the depths of disaster. You will surely judge the wicked. We have a hope of the greatest eternal celebration because of our Messiah, Your Son. We bring our gifts to You. We have been freed from the chains of men, and we sing with joy as we walk in Your Spirit. Grant us power today for the praise of Your glory.