One of the things I love about reading through the Psalms is that it gives us great imagery to try to understand and picture who God is. Psalm 68 is a great mixture of practical experience and imaginary vision to help us get a glimpse of God’s glory.
The analysis of this psalm reveals conflicting ideas about when this psalm was written, who wrote it, and what timeline it is referring to. It could refer to God’s goodness in delivering Israel from Egypt, leading to the issuance of the 10 commandments. It could also refer to various battles that David experienced while king of Israel. It could have been written in celebration of the Ark of the Covenant’s return to Jerusalem. It could also be a messianic prophecy of Christ’s coming. Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter what exactly it was written about or who wrote it because it all points to the same principle: God’s victory over evil.
We’ve already read many psalms that reveal suffering and lamenting, crying out to God in times of need. Here, however, we see God’s deliverance. God is our deliverer, and we should never forget that. Whether we are in a time of suffering or victory, all glory belongs to God. God acts on our behalf and usually threw us as His people. It is very easy for us to take the glory for ourselves. If we look at the example of the Ark of the Covenant returning to Jerusalem, David was caught in the courtyard dancing in his underwear by his wife and ridiculed. “I will be more undignified than this,” he replied. If he was concerned about his own honor or glory, he would have dressed in his finest kingly apparel and appeared before Israel as the victor and the one responsible for the Ark returning. Surely he had a hand in it but only because God used him to do so.
In the desert and even on the mountain where Moses received God’s commandments for His people, Moses continually reminded Israel that it was God who provided, protected, guided, and was victorious for His people. Moses constantly complained that he wasn’t fit for what God wanted him to do. Later we see Jesus in Revelation as He returns as the triumphant warrior King, not only proclaiming victory but also sharing it with all those He loves.
In all these instances, God is glorified and rendered the honor He is due. It’s funny how the psalmist writes that one mountain is jealous of the other because God decides to rest His presence on it forever. It doesn’t matter what we are currently experiencing, whether it be joy or sadness, to God be the glory. He gives power and strength to the people, but do we honor Him with that precious gift or do we waste it away? Do we recognize what it is, treasure it, and return the gift by using it for God’s honor? If we want to experience the God described in this psalm we would be wise to ascribe to Him all the glory and let God arise in our hearts so that He overflows into the rest of the world so they too may get to experience His great love for them.
This song and video might test your theological perspective on worship, but as I watch it I can imagine this is how David and Israel danced as they welcomed God’s presence back into their lives. Do we welcome God with such fanfare and jubilee into our lives?