Daily Encouragements from Pastor Geoff

Daily Meditations

Psalm 68:35

Psalm 68:35

An awesome God

The march from Sinai to Zion is complete and it has been an exhilarating journey. We have seen that it was not just a procession of ex-Hebrew slaves that undertook this journey, no, their God went with them, and He displayed His power and His glory on route. The climax of the procession was the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant on Mount Zion where it was placed in the sacred tent, the sanctuary, amid much celebrating, dancing and music. It was a day of great joy and that joy overflows to the final verse of the Psalm. David reflects on the awesome power of the presence of Almighty God and he can scarcely believe that his God, the God of Israel, is dwelling now amongst His people. His very presence gives them power and strength.

This same God comes to dwell with us. We do not need sacred tents or mighty temples or any man-made dwelling. The Lord God of Israel chooses to make our hearts His temple and He comes to dwell with us and in us. This same deity who travelled with the Israelites and who dwelt among them, comes to every individual believer by His Holy Spirit and says, “I am with you, Trust in me.” His power has never diminished. His Word has never changed. His truth and His authority do not mellow or fade with time. His strength is as great as it ever was and His compassion and care for His people does not weaken. All that has changed is the willingness and desire of men and women to trust Him absolutely and to praise and honour Him in the way their ancient forbears were able to do. Everything that David experienced and wrote about is truth and the same God waits upon us. The word Bless” literally means to wait upon. Our God longs to wait upon us. He will give power and strength to His people. Let us open up our sanctuaries and let Him in! Praise be to God!



Psalm 68:34

Psalm 68:34

Proclaim the power of God

Verses like this one, passed me by as a younger man, they didn’t seem to be saying anything very profound. Now I read these words and realise that they are rich with meaning and truth and a whole book could be written about this one! The first thing to note is that this is an order, those who read and believe in the Lord God are being ordered to proclaim Him. The best way to do this is not to walk around the streets shouting His virtues but to ascribe to Him the praise and glory that He is due. This can be done privately and publicly, alone or corporately. Whatever the circumstances, the reality of our faith is best expressed when we proclaim the power of God.

There follows, two reasons for our proclamations. The first is that the excellence of the majesty of the Lord God is to be seen over Israel. There was a time when this nation and its history held little fascination for me, the Hebrew Scriptures and the life and times of this ancient people were transcended in my thinking by the coming of Christ and the emergence of the church. Now I realise that everything that I need to know about God, and His dealings with believers over the last 2,000 years, is revealed in His dealings with Israel. David wrote this Psalm when that nation had peaked in its relationship with the Lord God and its possession of the land of promise. Everywhere that David looked he could see only the excellence and majesty of the Lord and his heart overflowed with praise. Modern Israel is a wake-up call to Jews and Gentiles that God’s majesty is still being revealed to His ancient people. Let us proclaim the power of God whose majesty is over Israel. 

There is another reason for us to proclaim the power of God and it is that His power may be seen in the heavens. The Psalms are rich in their portrayal of God’s heavenly power and glory. “You have set Your glory above the heavens.” Psalm 8:1. “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them?” Psalm 8:3-4. You see, God made man to rule the earth, but He continues to rule the heavens. The ancient religions all placed most of their gods above the earth, their deities ruled from the heavens and over the heavens. The power of our God, the one true God, is in the heavens, His throne is above the earth. Just this week a ten-billion-dollar spaceship was launched, with sophisticated equipment designed to unlock the secrets of the beginning of the universe! We could have saved them the money! Hallelujah!



Psalm 68:33

Psalm 68:33

Time and space travel!

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun (that is Israel), who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in His majesty.” So says Moses in Deuteronomy 33:26. In an age when there were no aircraft or space rockets, when flight by men was unimaginable, it was not unreasonable to imagine God being able to traverse the heavens in power and glory. It was quite clear to Moses and his contemporaries that this God did not need human transport nor was he limited to the earth. He could go where He liked and when He liked, he was not bound by any natural laws. 

David has similar thoughts in his mind here in this verse, as he pictures the Lord God being able to travel across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens that even preceded creation. In other words, God is not only greater than space but also time. 

Psalm 29 taught us a lot about the voice of God and it’s powerful effect; But, who has a voice so powerful that when He speaks the whole world hears Him? Imagine being able to shout a command and people the other side of the world hear it. When our God chooses to, He speaks and all creation listens. When our God speaks every living thing trembles. The amazing thing is that God does not have to shout! When He speaks it is very often a gentle whisper, but the word is so potent that it feels like everyone on the planet must have heard it.”

Let’s apply that to ourselves and to this time in which we live and take to heart the plea from Hebrews 4:7, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”  Let’s listen out for that voice, it may be heard even as we read these verses! And if we hear Him, let us receive His words and obey Him for He is the Lord, He is our God. He is moving, across the heavens. He is speaking, with a voice like thunder. Let us watch and listen!



Psalm 68:32

Psalm 68:32

Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth

Oh, if only the nations of the earth would sing praise to the Lord! The previous verse, linked to Isaiah 19, suggests that Egypt and Assyria will do so one day. Other Scriptures speak of the reign of Yeshua, as Messiah upon the earth, when the tide of evil will be turned back, and all nations will ascend the Mountain of Zion and worship the Lord. 

This verse of Psalm 68 is almost a plea for the kingdoms of the world to wake up and acknowledge the Lord their God. Hindu, Buddhist and the countries ruled by Islam need to turn away from their idolatry and worship the one, true God. Kingdoms run by dictators and despots need to stop trusting in men and turn to the God of justice and truth. The super-powers need to abandon their territorial supremacy and surrender their arrogance and dominance to the Super Power. Countries that are constantly developing weapons of mass destruction and increasing their armies and navies and nuclear capabilities, need to lay down their evil ambitions and care for the poor and needy. Scientists need to halt their never-ending quest to prove that mankind can resolve every question and instead, put their trust in the One who knows all things, for He will reveal and has revealed all that we will ever need to know. The nations need to stop their greed-driven quests for wealth and turn to the God who provides. Come on world, lets sing to the Lord. Come on all you kingdoms of the earth, let us all praise the One who made us and who loves us. 

One day, it will happen. Satan will be silenced, and peace and praise will dominate the airwaves. Until then It’s up to you and I to lay the foundations and make sure that at least a few members of the human race give their Creator and Father the credit He deserves! Let’s sing praise to Him today. Hallelujah! 

 



Psalm 68:31

Psalm 68:31

Egypt and Assyria

Let’s start our pondering of this verse by understanding who it is talking about! Obviously, we know where Egypt is. The land of Cush is a little less well-known! Cush was a descendant of Noah’s son Ham, and he was the father of Nimrod, who is described as a mighty warrior and hunter before the Lord. Genesis 10:6-20. The land of Cush embraced countries like Ethiopia, (sometimes known as Abyssinia) the Sudan and maybe Libya, in other words, a large chunk of modern N Africa. There have been numerous attempts to drag up historical events that suggest these countries have submitted themselves to God, but there has not really been a time when a wholesale allegiance to Him has been practiced in these lands. Most commentators believe that this will be fulfilled in the future and during the reign of Christ. 

Isaiah 19 and 20 talks in more detail about this time and the prophecy there is so staggering, I must include part of it here!

Isaiah 19:18 In that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan (Hebrew language) and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be called the City of the Sun. 19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a saviour and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day, they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. 25 The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

Hallelujah!



Psalm 68:30

Psalm 68:30

The beast among the reeds

What a verse! What does it mean? How does this fit into the preceding and subsequent messages of this Psalm? 

Firstly, let’s literally translate what is being written by David, bearing in mind that this is a prayer to the Lord. After taking us up to the heady heights of Zion and calling upon God to show His strength and summon His power, the Psalm now obviously identifies the enemies who need to be overcome. David uses animal imagery here and he invites us to imagine a bull or terrible wild beast. This ferocious and fearsome animal is in the thickets or reeds. (The Hebrew literally suggests a company of spearmen, their weapons obviously looking like reeds or canes.) The wild bulls are the aggressive military forces and their leaders accompanied by their calves or their people. This army of brutal and terrifying strength will be humbled and bring talents of silver to the Lord. “Scatter the nations who delight in war,” says David.

There are a number of applications here; Egypt continued to be a fearsome enemy of Israel and Pharaoh fits the description of the beast amongst the spearmen. There would be a succession of “beasts” including Babylon, Greece and Rome, all of them creations of the evil mastermind himself – the Satan. In truth, so long as there are a chosen people of God, there will be virulent opposition to them. So long as there is a created world, God’s enemy will seek to destroy it. 

The church will never be free of beasts and bulls and their calves until Jesus Christ Himself comes to reign upon the earth. Indeed, the most fearsome beast of all is yet to be revealed, for Satan will embody himself in a man of wickedness such as the world has never seen. 

Meanwhile, as the nations continue to arm themselves and invent even more devastating weaponry, let us pray that the Lord God will scatter them and continue to rebuke the “beasts among the reeds.”



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