Messiah’s leasing of Israel and the Church from Wilderness into final Rest

Armies throughout history have sung this psalm as they went into battle. The Huguenots found strength in it as they went forward, as did Cromwell’s troops. War is its theme, with God going before His people.

Described is the ascension of the Ark to Jerusalem at the head of its attendants. But it also describes the ascension of Christ at Mount Sinai, when He received gifts for men. Paul uses that to describe the ascension of Christ from Mount Olivet, when He gave gifts to men. War is not glorified here, but God’s special leadership, protection and deliverance are praised.
The Lord Jesus is typified by the Ark going up to the city of God, and thus was emblematic and prophetic of His victorious ascension to glory and honour after His resurrection. The whole psalm is redolent with the strength, sovereignty and victory of God.

Psalm 68

   1  Let God arise, and scattered
         let all his en'mies be;
      And let all those that do him hate
         before his presence flee.

   2  As smoke is driv'n, so drive thou them;
         as fire melts wax away,
      Before God's face let wicked men
         so perish and decay.

   3  But let the righteous be glad:
         let them before God's sight
      Be very joyful; yea, let them
         rejoice with all their might.

   4  To God sing, to his name sing praise;
         extol him with your voice,
      That rides on heav'n, by his name Jah,
         before his face rejoice.

   5  Because the Lord a father is
         unto the fatherless;
      God is the widow's judge, within
         his place of holiness.

   6  God doth the solitary set
         in fam'lies: and from bands
      The chain'd doth free; but rebels do
         inhabit parched lands.

   7  O God, what time thou didst go forth
         before thy people's face;
      And when through the great wilderness
         thy glorious marching was;

   8  Then at God's presence shook the earth,
         then drops from heaven fell;
      This Sinai shook before the Lord,
         the God of Israel.

   9  O God, thou to thine heritage
         didst send a plenteous rain,
      Whereby thou, when it weary was,
         didst it refresh again.

  10  Thy congregation then did make
         their habitation there:
      Of thine own goodness for the poor,
         O God, thou didst prepare.

  11  The Lord himself did give the word,
         the word abroad did spread;
      Great was the company of them
         the same who published.

  12  Kings of great armies foiled were,
         and forced to flee away;
      And women, who remained at home,
         did distribute the prey.

  13  Though ye have lien among the pots,
         like doves ye shall appear,
      Whose wings with silver, and with gold
         whose feathers covered are.

  14  When there th' Almighty scatter'd kings,
         like Salmon's snow 'twas white.
  15  God's hill is like to Bashan hill,
         like Bashan hill for height.

  16  Why do ye leap, ye mountains high?
         this is the hill where God
      Desires to dwell; yea, God in it
         for aye will make abode.

  17  God's chariots twenty thousand are,
         thousands of angels strong;
      In's holy place God is, as in
         mount Sinai, them among.

  18  Thou hast, O Lord, most glorious,
         ascended up on high;
      And in triumph victorious led
         captive captivity:

      Thou hast received gifts for men,
         for such as did rebel;
      Yea, ev'n for them, that God the Lord
         in midst of them might dwell.

  19  Blessed be the Lord, who is to us
         of our salvation God;
      Who daily with his benefits
         us plenteously doth load.

  20  He of salvation is the God,
         who is our God most strong;
      And unto God the Lord from death
         the issues do belong.

  21  But surely God shall wound the head
         of those that are his foes;
      The hairy scalp of him that still
         on in his trespass goes.

  22  God said, My people I will bring
         again from Bashan hill;
      Yea, from the sea's devouring depths
         them bring again I will;

  23  That in the blood of enemies
         thy foot imbrued may be,
      And of thy dogs dipped in the same
         the tongues thou mayest see.

  24  Thy goings they have seen, O God;
         the steps of majesty
      Of my God, and my mighty King,
         within the sanctuary.

  25  Before went singers, players next
         on instruments took way;
      And them among the damsels were
         that did on timbrels play.

  26  Within the congregations
         bless God with one accord:
      From Isr'el's fountain do ye bless
         and praise the mighty Lord.

  27  With their prince, little Benjamin,
         princes and council there
      Of Judah were, there Zabulon's
         and Napht'li's princes were.

  28  Thy God commands thy strength; make strong
         what thou wrought'st for us, Lord.
  29  For thy house at Jerusalem
         kings shall thee gifts afford.

  30  The spearmen's host, the multitude
         of bulls, which fiercely look,
      Those calves which people have forth sent,
         O Lord our God, rebuke,

      Till ev'ry one submit himself,
         and silver pieces bring:
      The people that delight in war
         disperse, O God and King.

  31  Those that be princes great shall then
         come out of Egypt lands;
      And Ethiopia to God
         shall soon stretch out her hands.

  32  O all ye kingdoms of the earth,
         sing praises to this King;
      For he is Lord that ruleth all,
         unto him praises sing.

  33  To him that rides on heav'ns of heav'ns,
         which he of old did found;
      Lo, he sends out his voice, a voice
         in might that doth abound.

  34  Strength unto God do ye ascribe;
         for his excellency
      Is over Israel, his strength
         is in the clouds most high.

  35  Thou'rt from thy temple dreadful, Lord;
         Isr'el's own God is he,
      Who gives his people strength and pow'r:
         O let God blessed be.

Recommended Tunes

Crediton (Verses 1 - 16)

Richmond (Verses 17-35)

St Fulbert (Verses 17 - 35)