June 18 2023
Today, Sunday June 18
“A Father of the Fatherless…”
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. A Song
“Let God arise, Let His enemies be scattered; Let those also who 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.
But let the righteous be glad; Let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly. Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name YAH, And rejoice before Him.
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
Happy Father’s Day! It is amazing how this Psalm and these first six verses of it coincide with the day that we celebrate fathers. No doubt, many of us had amazing fathers who were a part of our growing up years. But is possible that many are reading this that did not have this wonderful and much needed experience. Well, verse 5 reminds us that our great God, YAH, is a perfect heavenly Father, who will always be there for you, and give both the fatherless and the widows His protection!
From the title we learn that Psalm 68 was written by King David to be a song that would be sung by the best of best of the singers, “the Chief Musician”. It is possible that David wrote this Psalm on the occasion of transferring the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed-edom to the temple, the special place he had prepared for it on Mount Zion. It is a most soul stirring hymn.
Psalm 68 is also the fourth of a quartet of psalms (64-68), which celebrate the millennial reign of Christ. John Phillips wrote this about it: “It pulls out all the stops, and its notes boom in a tremendous orchestration of history and prophecy. It has been called "one of the masterpieces of the world's lyrics" and "the grandest and most elaborate of dedication odes." One commentator says that "even in the diluted English version, it is difficult to read this marching song without the feet longing to tramp and the hands to wave."
You might take the time to read the "Song of Deborah" in Judges 5, as preparation for studying this psalm, and compare the parallels: Ps. 68:4/Judg. 5:3, Ps. 68:7-8/Judg. 5:4-5, Ps. 68:12/Judg. 5:30, Ps. 68:13/Judg. 5:16, Ps. 68:18/Judg. 5:12, and Ps. 68:27/Judg. 5:14, 18. The emphasis is on God's mighty acts on behalf of Israel resulting in His decision to dwell on Mount Zion. Several names of God are used, including Elohim (23 times), Jehovah, Jah (short for Jehovah, as in hallelujah, Elijah, etc.), Adonai (6 times), and Shaddai.
Psalm 68 is Messianic and Paul quotes verse 18 in Ephesians 4:8 and applies it to the ascension of Christ. The psalm is a jubilant hymn of praise to Jehovah in which the nation of Israel gives four expressions of triumph through their God.
First, we celebrate our great and awesome God because of His coming to us. Verse 1 is a quotation from Numbers 10:33-35, Israel's "marching cry" whenever they set out on their journeys. “And the cloud of the LORD was above them by day when they went out from the camp. So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said: "Rise up, O LORD! Let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You." And when it rested, he said: "Return, O LORD, To the many thousands of Israel."
The quotation is fitting because the psalm pictures the Lord "on the march" on behalf of His people. He fights their battles, leads them into the land of their inheritance, and takes up residence in the sanctuary on Mt. Zion. The enemies of Israel are blown away like smoke (Psalm 37:20) and melted like wax (Psalm 97:5), while the righteous (Israel) rejoice at God's works and sing His praises.
The phrase "extol him who rides upon the heavens" or "upon the clouds" (v. 4) should probably read "cast up a highway for him who rides through the deserts". It's the picture of an oriental monarch and his entourage approaching a town, and the citizens clearing away the obstacles on the road (Isa. 40:3; 57:14; 62:10; Matt. 3:1-3). The coming of the King encourages the helpless people, especially the orphans and widows, the lonely, and those imprisoned unjustly (vv. 5-6; see Deut. 10:18-19; 27:17-19; Luke 4:16-19). But the rebels had better be careful! They might be cast out of the Promised Land that flows with milk and honey (v. 6b)!
But my friend, you can always rely on our heavenly Father to be there for you!