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.
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