Updated: Jun 24, 2020
How awesome to consider the greatness of our God, the love He has for us, and the love we have for Him!
As I was reading Psalm 68 today, it struck me once again how specific the Lord is in His Word about the worship He receives from His people. Not only that, but the spiritual dynamics surrounding the gathering of God with his people are not always filled with gentleness and peace. That was the sadder realization as I was reading the psalm. Perhaps us moms and dads can relate as we're trying to get kids out of the house and thus to church with us on Sunday mornings. Or maybe, as is so often the case, the week has been hard, and the enemies we've faced have been financial, relational, emotional, physical, spiritual, simply real and present.
Whatever the situation for each of us, it's clear there is a spiritual battle within worship and we can glean so much from Psalm 68. It's full of insight into the power of worshiping God, the importance of it, and the how, the who, what, where, why and when. Take a look at it to discover what you find.
For me today it was striking to consider how the psalm begins. It's so direct about the situation at hand for God's people. From the Passion Translation:
"God! Arise with awesome power, and every one of your enemies will scatter in fear! Chase them away- all these God-haters. One good look at you and the wicked vanish. But let all your godly lovers be glad! Yes, let them all rejoice in your presence and be carried away with gladness. Let them laugh and be radiant with joy!
"To the fatherless he is a father. To the widow he is a champion friend. To the lonely he makes them part of a family. To the prisoners he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy. This is our Holy God in His Holy Place!" Psalm 68 TPT
Lord, Arise! Take care of your enemies, so that your people can experience all your healing power! This is our God in His Holy Place!
I love the Lord, my Savior! He's everything to me! He has freed me, delivered me, preserved me, given me family through Christ, given me songs to sing for all His goodness, loved me, given me strength when I have needed it, blessed me with His Holy Spirit and presence, guided me and carried me, given me an assurance of salvation and the promise of eternal life. The Lord is awesome in all His deeds! He does daily bear our burdens! He is a God who saves! Praise be the name of the Lord our God!
And as the picture up above reminds me, He's given us a great cloud of witnesses with whom we also journey in praise and submission to the Lord. Just like the Israelites. We get to worship Him together! We get to spur one another on in the great procession unto the glory of the Lord and the good of His people.
All together we also must be watchful of the Lord's enemies. As we sing out our songs of praise, the evil one may be lurking ready to steal, kill and destroy. Satan does not want the Son of God to receive honor and praise from us. He's jealous for attention and jealous for power and control. He is crafty to move and work alongside the procession of praise to diminish the gifts of worship given to our Lord. He’s crafty in his mission and knows how to distract us from true worship in spirit and in truth.
So, O people of God, be alert and aware! I Peter 5 reminds us that the evil one prowls around looking to destroy. He will seek to destroy the assembly of God's people for the glory of God. He will seek to silence our praises. He will divide out the congregation to shatter the procession coming into view.
We also, like the Israelites, may have to begin our song of worship very directly to our God who is awesome in His Sanctuary! "God! Arise with awesome power, and every one of your enemies will scatter in fear!" (Psalm 68:1). Lord, vanquish your foes!
The picture above was from an Easter morning three years ago. The congregation of God was ready and did sing the praises of our God! The evil one saw defeat that day without a doubt! As we travel these days here on earth, though, the defeat of the evil one is not always the case. Many times we let the evil one win the battles in our personal lives and in our corporate lives.
Jesus is victorious in the end and we are not a people of despair! As we grow in Him and understand our part in scattering Jesus' foes here on earth as they are in heaven, keep watch and be discerning. Sound forth your praises of Jesus; declare His truths! Celebrate His ways and walk them out with the help of the Holy Spirit. Do not fear. For the Lord our God is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress! Hallelujah! Amen!
"You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. Praise be to God!" (Psalm 68:25)
Dear Lord, we praise you and honor you. We bless your name. Because of your great power to protect your praises, arise and vanquish your foes. Let your people rejoice and be glad for you are awesome in your sanctuary! Amen.