Psalms 68 – “Ascribe Ye Strength Unto God…”

“Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds”

by Tony Cullen

Psalms 68 (Part 1): Verses 1-11

Psa 68:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm or Song of David. Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.
Psa 68:2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
Psa 68:3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.
Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
Psa 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
Psa 68:6 God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
Psa 68:7 O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:
Psa 68:8 The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Psa 68:9 Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.
Psa 68:10 Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
Psa 68:11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

Right near the end of the Psalm we are looking at in this study we find the title of our study in verse 34 which says “Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.” Those words truly define the exercise that we are all called unto as the Lord makes his strength perfect through the Israel of God (Gal 6:16) who is was and will be perfected by the means that God has devised to reconcile all His creation (2Sa 14:14). That means is described in verse 34 of this Psalm as “his excellency” and “his strength“, which we know He is making perfect through the weak and marred vessels of clay that God created (Jer 18:4). So if He is making his strength perfect through us today, then we must conclude in this verse that we are those clouds that He is perfecting and preparing to bring his strength and excellency over the rest of Israel in their appointed time.

Last week we talked about how there is a process to going unto perfection and how the body of Christ is that means to an end that God uses to reconcile the elect today who are being judged and who will ultimately have the ability and power to go into all the earth and judge the world without as we are being judged within so they (the world without) can learn righteousness which God is forming in us through this life in Christ that we share today (Luk 13:32, Isa 26:9, Heb 4:11-16, Heb 2:18, 1Jn 4:17).

What a joy to know that we serve a God whose eyes never slumber or sleep (Psa 121:4) and whose sole purpose is to develop a family whose care and love for one another is unparalleled and made perfect through our weakness (2Co 12:9).

This Psalm speaks very much about the power of God and the effect that His hand has working in our lives. He is burning up the vanity within us that wants to hold onto this life, this temporary existence that we have which is like a mist, or smoke that is driven away, or as wax that melts before a fire. This burning and suffering that we go through in our life is how “the wicked perish at the presence of God” within us, and it describes how we lose our life so that we may gain the life of Christ where we can find power and love and soundness of mind to become more than conquerors through Him (Mat 16:25, 2Ti 1:7, Rom 8:37).

We are called to think it not strange but to know that it is part of the process in our walk as Christians to have to endure fiery trials (1Pe 4:12). We come to know that we are being purified by those fiery experiences, and we are brought to see it all as a blessing and a witness that God is working with us as He gives us “light affliction, which is but for a moment” (2Co 4:17).

As always, we need to ask God to help us see how these verses apply to the destruction of the man of sin within each of our own lives being destroyed by the brightness of Christ and his word that is sanctifying us in this age (Joh 17:17).

Psa 68:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm or Song of David. Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.
Psa 68:2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

Our enemies are being scattered both within and without, and God has purposed for all men to hate us both within and without (Mat 10:22, Rev 12:11, Mar 10:18) seeing all the sin of the world is within us and without (1Jn 2:15-16).

The actions of all mankind witness how we are beasts (sheep) scattered by the Shepherd (Joh 2:15), and we need to live this experience of being scattered so that, God willing, we can be gathered in this age by a loving Shepherd as He creates a ministry of reconciliation through the church who has been given the power to reconcile Christ’s body so that we can enter into God’s temple as changed and converted beasts (2Co 5:18-19, Rev 15:8, Rev 4:10).

We are no longer looking behind at past our transgression and sinful life (Luk 17:32, Php 3:13) but see and understand that we are in a marred vessel that is being made anew as we reach forth together “unto the things which are before”. We need to forgive ourselves within and forgive the world without, and this can only happen by our dying daily and being given to be on the cross with Christ day by day (Gal 2:20, Luk 23:34, 1Co 15:31).

Our sins separate or scatter us from God, but being led unto repentance reconciles us to one another and to our Father and Christ (Psa 51:2-3, Psa 51:10, Mar 10:8, Eph 2:14, Luk 23:34). We are purposely scattered by God and made to be at enmity against our Creator and one another and then twain becomes one, Christ and his body, or husband and wife, fathers and children, children to fathers, as it says in (Mal 4:6) all types and shadows of the one bread and one spirit that the body of Christ is and how all the world or the whole lump is serving a holy purpose as (Rom 11:16) puts it (1Co 10:17, Eph 4:4, 1Co 15:22).

The positive type of scattering as opposed to seeing the hypocrisy of our flesh being exposed when we learn that Christ has been smitten of God and we have scattered as a result (Mat 26:31) is to make the beast scatter from the temple or to witness Christ as the true Shepherd within his body make the beast of the field to scatter (Deu 7:22, Num 14:9) like king David who in type and shadow scattered and destroyed both man and beast which are the same unto God (Joh 10:12-14, 1Sa 17:36, 1Sa 17:51, Ecc 3:18).

In summary for these two verses, it is God who is gathering the nations within to bruise Christ and his Christ both within and without as discussed (Act 4:27-28), and it is Christ in us the hope of glory (Col 1:24) who is going to enable us to be redeemed and be the kings and priests who redeem all nations, languages, tongues and peoples both within and without (Rev 7:9, Rev 5:9). Death is an enemy that is destroyed by the death of Christ and his Christ who are as sheep for the slaughter (Rom 8:36), and the word scattered has both a positive and negative use but are both needed to accomplish God’s predetermined purpose for humanity (2Co 1:20, Eph 1:11, Act 4:27-28).

Psa 68:3 But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.
Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

The pattern is revealed again how there is joy in the morning after weeping endures for a night (Psa 30:5, Mat 26:75). This is when we sing praises to his name: and extol him that works in our heavens by His powerful spirit or excellency and strength which we ascribe unto him.

Psa 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
Psa 68:6 God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

God is turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers and showing us that without him we are spiritually fatherless and widows without our true groom (Mal 3:1, Mal 4:6).

God takes care of His children who have the honour of coming out of this world and understanding the shadows and types that are hidden from our own flesh and blood family who are deceived and cut off from God today for our sakes (Luk 10:24).

It takes his dwelling in “holy habitations” to convince us of this new family relationship where we now honour our heavenly Father and are no longer of our father the devil. We recognize that we are spiritual widows for having been dragged out of Babylon (Rev 18:4, Joh 6:44) which is a “dry land” that keeps people bound to lies where there is no stay of bread or water to be had (Isa 3:1).

Psa 68:7 O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:
Psa 68:8 The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

The parallel thought for us in this verse is found in Hebrews 10:32 where we’re encouraged to remember the former days and what great struggles we were given to bring us closer and closer to that place where we don’t trust in our own flesh but in God alone (2Co 1:9, Pro 3:6-9).

Unless our earth shakes and our heavens (our minds) drop at the presence of God (Rom 14:11) we will not come to know God and Jesus Christ in this age (1Jn 4:17, 1Pe 5:6-9). The bride of Christ that comes up on mount Sinai is of a meek and quiet spirit today and ultimately is becoming that example of a city set on a hill or nation that God provides for the world to learn of His glory and power (Oba 1:21, 1Pe 3:4, Isa 66:7-8).

Psa 68:9 Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.
Psa 68:10 Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
Psa 68:11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

So on one hand we have the whole stay of water and bread taken away contrasted with what God is doing with those who are his in this age. Our inheritance is in Christ and we are Christ’s inheritance (Eph 1:18, Col 1:12, Joh 8:12, Mat 5:14) and God is making his strength perfect through this weary flesh by sending “plentiful rain”.

God has called the “poor” of the world to be rich in faith (Jas 2:5), which demonstrates his goodness and desire to not overlook any crumb (Joh 6:12, Mar 7:28), any part of his creation, for He so loved the world that He gave Christ and His body (Joh 3:16) for the feeding of the masses of humanity. As we read in Psalms 68:11 “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.”

God’s elect are called in this age to witness of his great power as we demonstrate not just how God can take a small scattered group and do a great work through us, but also how that work ascribes to the world his strength and excellency in making us one body of believers, one bread and a ministry of disciples who love one another and are being used to ultimately reconcile all the world by turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers (Mal 4:6).

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