We praise the Lord because he defeats the enemy and He saves His people. This Psalm is a song of military victory for Israel as she sang The Lord’s acclaim and glorified Him. But more so this Psalm is a song of spiritual victory, a messianic prophecy of Jesus’ victory over Satan, sin, and death. Verses 1-6 read,
“God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
and those who hate him shall flee before him!
2 As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;
as wax melts before fire,
so the wicked shall perish before God!
3 But the righteous shall be glad;
they shall exult before God;
they shall be jubilant with joy!
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6 God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”
God is our Almighty Lord of Hosts, He is pictured here marching out in lead Israel to defeat the enemy. As Israel left Mt. Sinai and trekked through the wilderness toward The Promised Land they sent the Ark of the Covenant three days ahead of them to secure their safety in the dangerous terrain. And each time they set off Moses said, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.” And when they camped for the Ark rested and so did they behind it he said, “Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.” (Numbers 10:33-35).
He is extolled as the triumphant military champion. In Judges Chapter 5 Deborah and Barak sang a song of praise for the victory over the Hazinite army who were swept away by a river, and Sisera their commander who fled in terror and was killed by Jael, a woman. Many verses in their song are echoed in this song.
The Lord is praised as our Justice and Avenger. He is the Father to fatherless, Defender of the widow. He lifts up the humble and humbles the prideful. He fights for the ones who depend on Him. He is our strength. He gives the sojourner a home in Him. And He frees the prisoners and leads them to the Promised Land while all those who oppress and fight His children shall thirst and suffer without Him. Verses 7-10 recall the great things God has done for His people.
“O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9 Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad;
you restored your inheritance as it languished;
10 your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.”
God doesn’t have to help those who help themselves. He wouldn’t force His assistance on anyone. He helps those of us who need Him. Those who call on Him for righteousness, for justice, and redemption. God, our Deliverer rescues those who are humble enough to need His deliverance. Even the weakest among the Lord’s people are victorious conquerors. The strong man of the enemy cannot defeat the frailest woman or smallest child of God. In Judges Chapter 4 Deborah, a woman led the Israelite army, and Jael, a woman killed the commander of the enemy’s army. They relied on the Lord for their strength and He brought them victory. Verses 11-14 read,
“The Lord gives the word;
the women who announce the news are a great host:
12 “The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil--
13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds--
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
its pinions with shimmering gold.
14 When the Almighty scatters kings there,
let snow fall on Zalmon.”
Zalmon means dark, it is a forested hill near Shechem. (Judges 9:46-49). To have a snow fall on a black forested hill gives us the picture of God’s pure holiness overcoming the evil dark of the enemy, Jesus’ blood washing us white as snow.
Verses 15-18 further give us a picture of Jesus’ salvation.
“O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for his abode,
yes, where the Lord will dwell forever?
17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands;
the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
18 You ascended on high,
leading a host of captives in your train
and receiving gifts among men,
even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.”
Mount Sinai is the mountain where God visited Moses and gave him the Law. It is the place that represents Zion our eternal home with God where He dwells with us face to face. The enemy cannot hope to go there. God’s enemies can only seek home and shelter in lesser places which will one day be burned up. (Hebrews 12:18-24). This Psalm as it describes our Lord of Hosts describes Jesus Christ. He is our Redeemer, our Deliverer, and The Rider on the white horse. (Revelation 19:11-16). Jesus came down to earth before and He will come again. He saves those who call on Him and makes us victorious with Him. But until he comes again, He has given us gifts. He gave us The Holy Spirit. He gives us abilities such as prophecy, teaching, evangelism, healing, and mercy to edify the church, glorify Him by making us like Him, and bring the lost to Him. Paul described it in Ephesians 4:1-16, he even quoted verse 18 of this Psalm in Ephesians 4:8. Verses 10-13 of Ephesian 4 read,
“He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”
It is not by our own strength we are saved. It is not by our own gifts, skills, and abilities we walk in Jesus. It is by The Lord. Our Father chose and anointed us. (Ephesians 1:3-5). Jesus is the propitiation the appeasement and payment of our sin so we can be saved. (1 John 2:1-2). The Holy Spirit transforms us to be holy, He teaches and guides us. (Romans 8:29-30). It’s not us who makes us conquerors, it is The Almighty God, Lord of Hosts who conquers for us. That is why we praise Him. That is how the whole world hears. Verses 19-27 read,
“Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
20 Our God is a God of salvation,
and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
21 But God will strike the heads of his enemies,
the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.
22 The Lord said,
“I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 that you may strike your feet in their blood,
that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”
24 Your procession is seen, O God,
the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary--
25 the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them virgins playing tambourines:
26 “Bless God in the great congregation,
the Lord, O you who are of Israel's fountain!”
27 There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in their throng,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.”
We can trust the Lord to defeat the enemy because when Jesus gave up His life on the cross, it was done. When Jesus rose from the dead the enemy was crushed. When Jesus ascended to Heaven, His people were equipped for the war. And When Jesus returns the enemy will know he is defeated and will be chained up and powerless. The enemy has no power over Believers. (1 John 5:18-19). He tries to chain us and oppress us. But we are free in Christ. We cannot be chained against our will. We are more than conquerors. The enemy cannot touch us without our approval. But he still fights us. He still tries. He doesn’t want us releasing any of his prisoners and bringing them into their new royal status as citizens of Heaven.
One day we will all sing our praises to Jesus forever. One day we will celebrate victory eternally. One day we, the true kings will be with our Sovereign, the King of kings for all time. Verses 32-35 read,
“O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
and whose power is in the skies.
35 Awesome is God from his sanctuary;
the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.
Blessed be God!”