Reading: Psalm 68
Your procession, God, has come into view,
the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
In front are the singers, after them the musicians;
with them are the young women playing the timbrels.
Praise God in the great congregation;
praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel.
There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them,
there the great throng of Judah’s princes,
and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali.
Summon your power, God;
show us your strength, our God, as you have done before.
Because of your temple at Jerusalem
kings will bring you gifts.
Rebuke the beast among the reeds,
the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations.
Humbled, may the beast bring bars of silver.
Scatter the nations who delight in war.
Envoys will come from Egypt;
Cush will submit herself to God (NIV).
All of Psalm 68 is a hymn of triumph—national triumph. In today’s reading it is apparent that this psalm is a triumphant processional song penned by David. The enemies of Israel have been vanquished and God’s army has returned victorious.
Via-Dolorosa in Jerusalem — photo courtesy of Lois Morrow
For Christians today, does this psalm hold a deeper significance? Does it signify more than a celebration after a military conquest?
The King we serve—the one born in a stable—didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom by means of guns and war. In his defence before Pilate Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36).
Make no mistake; Jesus calls us to be citizens in his heavenly Kingdom. It is a Kingdom that is headquartered in heaven, but its address on the earth is the human heart—your heart—my heart. Furthermore, that Kingdom grows in power and influence as we yield our will to God and joyfully become more like His son, Jesus. For followers of Jesus, battles are won as we submit our will to God.
There are nations—Egypt and Cush (the upper Nile region) are mentioned here—that will submit themselves to God. But for us today, submission must first come from our own stubborn heart.
Response: LORD God, I yield my will to you. Conquer my heart with your love. Through Jesus sacrifice on the cross I am yours. Help me to joyfully live as a productive citizen of your Kingdom on earth. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you been conquered by the love of God? Where is your primary citizenship?