1 For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.
May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. 2 As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. 3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. 4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds— his name is the LORD—and rejoice before him. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
7 When you went out before your people, O God, when you marched through the wasteland, Selah 8 the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. 9 You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. 10 Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.
11 The Lord announced the word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it: 12 “Kings and armies flee in haste; in the camps men divide the plunder. 13 Even while you sleep among the campfires, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.” 14 When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Zalmon.
15 The mountains of Bashan are majestic mountains; rugged are the mountains of Bashan. 16 Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell for ever? 17 The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. 18 When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious—that you, O LORD God, might dwell there
19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens. Selah 20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.
21 Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins. 22 The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea, 23 that you may plunge your feet in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”
24 Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. 25 In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. 26 Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel.
27 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.
28 Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before. 29 Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts. 30 Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may it bring bars of silver. Scatter the nations who delight in war. 31 Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush will submit herself to God.
32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, Selah 33 to him who rides the ancient skies above, who thunders with mighty voice. 34 Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies. 35 You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!
The gospel pictured long ago
(Verses 1-6) God’s foes are as smoke blown away, or wax melted by fire. The wicked perish. The ‘righteous’ rejoice and praise God the LORD (Jehovah). He rules clouds, cares for orphans and widows, builds families, and helps sad prisoners praise Him. (We are all prisoners of sin.) Sinful rebels face drought, and spiritual drought also.
(Verses 7-10) Earthquakes and rainstorms point to Him as He refreshes His weary people. The poor receive His bounty. Today He renews the strength of those who wait on Him. (Isaiah 40:31)
(Verses 11-14) God scatters kings and armies. He enriches people from the spoil taken from His foes. He helps us fight against temptation and sin.
(Verses 15-18) Rugged enemy mountains do not compare with God’s mountain, Sinai. God reigns there. Verse 18 pictures the crucified and risen Christ’s ascension to Heaven. (See Ephesians 4:8)
(Verses 19-20) The gospel is pictured here. The crucified Christ, ‘God our Saviour’, bears all our sins and judgment, including death and Hell. He helps us each day by carrying our burdens, too.
(Verses 21-27) God will crush His foes. He will also defeat our foes (the world, flesh and devil). His wrath is also on unrepentant sinners. God’s praising people rejoice in Heaven. Some are named here. Each saved person’s name is written in ‘the Lamb’s book of life.’ (Revelation 21:27)
(Verses 28-35) David praises God for:
- His strength and power. They still help now by the Holy Spirit living in believers.
- His presence is ‘awesome’ in Jerusalem’s temple’s sanctuary. Any sinner who trusts in Christ becomes the ‘Temple of the Holy Spirit’, who lives in him. He helps him to become more holy and live a changed life.
- He rebukes warring enemy nations. The crocodile and hippopotamus symbolise Egypt, the ‘beast among the reeds’. Egypt offers Israel tribute money to beg for peace. So does Cush (ancient Ethiopia).
- Worldwide, finally He will be praised. You will praise Him in Heaven, if – and only if – you know Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
- He rules all nature and the skies He made.
- He strengthens His people, then and now!