Praise the Conquering King

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Reading the Word

Psalm 68:32–35 (ESV)

32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. 34 Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies. 35 Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!

Understanding and Applying the Word

What wonderful words of praise end this psalm! Sing praises to God!

Throughout Psalm 68 God is praised as the past, present, and future Savior of Israel. So, when we come to the end, it is little surprise that we are urged to join in worship. In the psalm, God is imaged as a warrior who goes out and defeats the enemy on behalf of His people. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is pictured as the one who defeats Satan at the cross for believers (Colossians 2:13-15).

Our Lord and Savior has gone before us as our conquering hero. Let us lift up our praises and tell of His goodness!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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The Procession of God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 68:24–31 (ESV)

24 Your procession is seen, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary— 25 the singers in front, the musicians last, between them virgins playing tambourines: 26 “Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!” 27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead, the princes of Judah in their throng, the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali. 28 Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us. 29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings shall bear gifts to you. 30 Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds, the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples. Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute; scatter the peoples who delight in war. 31 Nobles shall come from Egypt; Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we find the imagery of a king returning from victory on the battlefield. As he returns, he is joined in procession by singers, musicians, and young women playing tambourines. The crowds declare his praises and celebrate his victory over the enemies. In the celebration of this king, even other nations join in and pay homage.

In these verses we read of a victorious king, but this is not any king. This in the King of kings! As He conquers over His enemies the nations come and bring their gifts before Him recognizing His authority and reign. Scripture tells us that there is a day coming when every knee will bow and declare that Jesus is Lord. We see that the people of God are made up of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue as the crowd sings out to praise God for His goodness and His victory over sin and evil (Revelation 7:9-10). Let us praise Him even now as we wait for our King to come in glory and power.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Lord Who Daily Bears Us Up

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Reading the Word

Psalm 68:19–23 (ESV)

19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death. 21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways. 22 The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan, I will bring them back from the depths of the sea, 23 that you may strike your feet in their blood, that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses we read of praise to God for His deliverance. He has delivered His people from the enemy through military victories.

We may be tempted to pass over verses like these and see no way to find application to our lives, but I believe there is something here for us. These verses should encourage all who are God’s people in the world. We know that He is with us and that He is the one who brings us through our circumstances, whatever they may be. Scripture tells us in multiple places that if we live in this world as God’s people that we can expect persecution. Yet, we know that God daily sustains His people and one day He will completely eliminate all of His enemies. These words give us the strength and encouragement that we need to live each day for Him. We know the final outcome and we know the victory has already been won!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

He Led a Host of Captives

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Reading the Word

Psalm 68:7–18 (ESV)

7 O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, Selah8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. 9 Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished; 10 your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy. 11 The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host: 12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!” The women at home divide the spoil— 13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds— the wings of a dove covered with silver, its pinions with shimmering gold. 14 When the Almighty scatters kings there, let snow fall on Zalmon. 15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan! 16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain, at the mount that God desired for his abode, yes, where the Lord will dwell forever? 17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary. 18 You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we read these verses, we read a retelling of the exodus when God brought the Israelites out of servitude in Egypt and into the Promised Land where the people became a nation. The passage proclaims that it was God, and God alone, who was responsible for the great victory. The Lord is the victorious King who led a host of captives in His train.

In Scripture, the exodus is often used as a picture to the greater deliverance that God would bring to mankind by delivering them from captivity to sin. God accomplished this deliverance through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ followed by the resurrection. The Letter to the Ephesians quotes Psalm 68 when it states the following:

“When he [Jesus] ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8)

The imagery here is clear. Jesus is seen as the conquering King who leads His people out of bondage to sin. This is the message of all of Scripture. We are sinners and God, by His grace, has made it possible for our sin to be dealt with so that we might have eternal life. We cannot do it on our own, but our King does all of the conquering for us. It is ours to simply trust in Him.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Father of the Fatherless

Psalm 685 [widescreen]

I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading for the day. Thank you for reading Shaped by the Word. This is a daily Bible reading devotional. If you have not already done so, please subscribe to the page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 68:1–6 (ESV)

1 God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him! 2 As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God! 3 But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy! 4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord; exult before him! 5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. 6 God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

May God Bless Us

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Reading the Word

Psalm 67:1–7 (ESV)

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm is a prayer for blessing. This is not surprising to us. We often pray for the same thing in our daily lives. What sets this psalm apart from our requests for blessing is the motivation this psalmist has for his request.

As the psalmist seeks God’s blessing he emphasizes that it is through such blessing that God’s way and His saving power would be known on the earth. As God’s people are blessed, the world would become aware of who God is and they too would turn to Him. The end result would be that all people would praise God!

What are our motives when we ask God to bless us? Are we asking simply to fulfill our desires or are we asking in order that God might be glorified through His blessings in our lives? May all that we receive from the hand of God result in our praise and the praise of others.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Considering Our Prayers

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Reading the Word

Psalm 66:17–20 (ESV)

17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses conclude Psalm 66. Here we read that the psalmist called out to God. This is a way of saying that the psalmist prayed for God’s help. This is no surprise, especially given the verses that we have been reading in the rest of the psalm. But notice what accompanies the psalmist’s petitions: praise and repentance.

Praise and repentance should always be a part of our prayer lives. When we come before the holy God of creation, He is deserving of praise and it is through our praise that we are reminded of the privilege of prayer as it produces humility in our hearts. Also, when we confess our sin with a sincere desire to turn from it, our focus shifts from ourselves to God’s grace and His overflowing love. When we come before God in this manner, we can be sure that God does not reject our prayer, but that He hears and He answers according to His will.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Come and Hear

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Reading the Word

Psalm 66:13–16 (ESV)

13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, 14 that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In these verses, the psalmist promises to publicly worship and praise God for all that He has done. He will tell others of what God has done for him.

Worship is always a response. It is a response to our understanding of who God is and our knowledge of what He has done. As such, our worship is a witness and testimony to others of what God has done. We worship and we tell others why we worship, We proclaim God’s praises because He is worthy of praise and then we tell others why He is worthy. And our worship is centered on the salvation we have in Jesus Christ, who died in order to give us life.

Let us worship the Lord for all He has done and let us tell the world of His greatness!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Praise God for Testing Us

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Reading the Word

Psalm 66:6–12 (ESV)

6 He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, 7 who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah8 Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 9 who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. 11 You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; 12 you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm begins with a call to praise God for who He is and all he He has done. In verse 6 we get an specific example of what God has done: He has delivered His people from Egypt by bringing them through the sea on dry land. Let the people praise Him!

That is wonderful, but verses 10-12 give other reasons to praise God. We should praise Him because he has “tested us” and “tried us as silver”. As we continue to read we find that God has “brought us into the net” and “laid a crushing burden on our backs”. He has “let men ride over our heads” and taken us through fire and water. How is this worthy of praise?

The words of Psalm 66:10-12 reflect the same thought as James 1:2-4:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

God, in His sovereignty, brings things into our lives, even difficult things, for our good. He uses these experiences to help us grow to Christian maturity and learn to trust and depend on Him more and more. If we look back on our lives, it is most likely true that our greatest times of spiritual growth have come not in the times of ease, but in the times of hardship and difficulty. So, in the words of James and Psalm 66, we can count these times as joy and give praise to God for them!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Give to Him Glorious Praise

Psalm 662 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 66:1–5 (ESV)

1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth; 2 sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! 3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. 4 All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah5 Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Psalm 66 calls for all people to praise God for who He is and for what He has done. His name is glorious and He has displayed His great power for all to see. In the context of this psalm, God displayed His power when He brought the people out of Egypt and led them across the sea on dry ground (Psalm 66:6). He then delivered the people into the Promised Land that was overflowing with abundance (Psalm 66:12).

We too are called to marvel at who God is and to praise His wondrous deeds. We can give praise and thanks for His daily provision in our lives, for how He has brought us through specific trials, or for the promises that He has made to us for the future. These are all great things. But let us not forget our great deliverance. Psalm 66 looks back to the deliverance of the people from bondage in Egypt. We must continually look back to the cross and our deliverance from bondage to sin. Christ died to set us free and to deliver us into eternal life in a new heaven and new earth. Let us praise the name of our great God and remember His awesome deeds!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!