Tuesday, September 27, 2022

2022.09.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 68:19–35

Read Psalm 68:19–35

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does  Psalm 68:19a bless? What has He done (verse 19b)? Who is He to us (verse 19c)? Who is He more generally (Psalm 68:20a)? What are His in verse 20b? What will He do to whom in Psalm 68:21a? How does verse 21b make this more vivid? Upon what heights may these enemies be found (Psalm 68:22a, cf. Psalm 68:15–16)? In what depths (verse 22b)? What will the Lord do to them? Why (Psalm 68:23)? To where does the scene change in Psalm 68:24? What is seen there? Who are in this procession (Psalm 68:25)? What is done in these assemblies (Psalm 68:26)? Who, specifically, are named in this assembly in Psalm 68:27? Who has commanded what for them (Psalm 68:28a)? What do they ask Him to strengthen (verse 28b)? Whom do they want Him to subdue (Psalm 68:29-30)? Until what (Psalm 68:30c)? By doing what (verse 30d)? Who, specifically, are named in this recovery (Psalm 68:31)? Then who will do what (Psalm 68:32)? Unto Whom? What does Psalm 68:33a call Him? How does He make all this happen (verse 33b)? What must His congregation do (Psalm 68:34)? How do they voice this praise in Psalm 68:35a—what is He more awesome than? What does He give to whom (verse 35b)? How does verse 35c summarize the entire Psalm?

Who must and will bless the Lord for what? Psalm 68:19–35 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seventeen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that through Israel, God blesses, saves, gathers, and strengthens beloved servants from Israel and all the nations. 

Blessed be God! (Psalm 68:19a, Psalm 68:35c). The second half of this Psalm declares its theme at its two bookends. Of course, God is blessed in Himself. The question is how does He display and honor that blessedness in His creation. The answer is by blessing and saving a people (Psalm 68:19b,c). It must be He that saves is His people’s salvation (verse 19c), because to Him alone belongs all salvation (Psalm 68:20). 

Accursed be His enemies (Psalm 68:21-23). Though His enemies be as high as Bashan (Psalm 68:22a, cf. Psalm 68:15–16), or as low as the depths of the sea (Psalm 68:22b), the Lord will find them and defeat them not only for Himself (Psalm 68:21) but for His people (Psalm 68:23). 

But blessed be His people, Israel (Psalm 68:24-27). Their blessedness is to know and praise Him. In front and behind are the priests, leading the priestly music (Psalm 68:25a), and even their maidens in the middle are participating with their hands (Psalm 68:25b). His people, from the greatest (as represented in Benjamin and Judah, Psalm 68:27a–b) to the least (as represented in Zebulun and Naphtali, verse 27c) are a royal procession.

And blessed be His people: Egypt, Ethiopia, etc. (Psalm 68:28-32). If we were a little surprised to see Zebulun and Naphtali named, then we should be fully amazed by Psalm 68:31. God scatters the wicked (Psalm 68:30d), but among those kingdoms of the earth whom He gathers in Jerusalem to praise Him are even Egypt (Psalm 68:31a) and Ethiopia (verse 31b)! Truly, in the gatherings of the church in Christ to sing His praise, we find the climax of the blessing of God’s Name in this world (Psalm 68:32, cf. Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12). Unto this end, the enthroned One (Psalm 68:18, cf. Ephesians 4:8) is building His church up into Himself (cf. Ephesians 4:9–16).

In God Himself is all their blessedness, indeed all blessedness altogether (Psalm 68:33-35). The Psalm concludes by dwarfing the entire creation as that which is beneath Him (Psalm 68:33), and the church which exists for the same purpose of praise (Psalm 68:34). His holy places are not impressive in themselves; rather, He is their impressiveness (Psalm 68:35a). His people are not strong in themselves; rather He is their strength (verse 35b). True blessing is to know Him and praise Him as the One in Whom all true blessedness resides.

What happens to God’s enemies? What happens to ones who become His people? Why?

Sample prayer:  Blessed are You, O Lord, Who daily load us with benefits! You are the God of our salvation, and You have saved us from death and gathered us to Yourself, so that we may be blessed in blessing Your Name. Now, by Your own grace, we come to offer ourselves as spiritual sacrifice, to sing Your praise as the One to Whom all blessedness belongs. Display Your excellence over us, and strengthen us even for this, Your worship, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP68E “Sing Out Your Praises” or TPH68B “O Lord, Thou Hast Ascended”

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