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Three thousand years ago David experienced the horrors of war, the release that comes when war is over, and even more so, the restoration of life out of all the damage. In the midst of his celebration, he saw a greater peace coming through a greater king. Now that that king has come, we can sing this song with new depth and relief.

Dan: [0:00] Hi everyone and welcome to Training for Life Redeemed. I’m Dan, I’m here with my father David Jackson.

We are continuing to work through the book of Psalms. We’re up to Psalm 68 Dad which you’re going to read for us in a moment.

But maybe before we read it, do you want to give us a bit of context for when this was kind of written and why we would be reading it and then we can then listen to it and then we’ll chat about what’s in it.

David: Well, it says it’s a composition of David, and everything about it tells us that this is a great triumph when Yahweh comes to dwell in Zion.

So it looks like when David brought the ark up to Jerusalem and placed the ark in the tabernacle, and that means God has finally come to reside next to his king.

So you’ve got God’s residence and the king’s residence adjacent to each other in the place where God said he would cause his name to dwell and after all of the 400 years in slavery and the period of the judges and Saul and all the rubbish that’s gone on this is like letting all the wind out of the bag to celebrate and just the release of joy.

[1:24] And so it’s a very long song. It is quite long. But let’s have a listen to you reading it.

Psalm 68

0 For the director. A composition of David. A song.

Psalm 68:1–6 Triumphant Grace

1 God arises.

His enemies are scattered.

And those who hate him flee from his face.

2 As smoke is blown away so you will drive them off.

like wax melting from the face of fire,

the wicked will perish from before the face of God. 

3 But the righteous rejoice,

they are excited before the face of God,

and they are gladdened in joy.

4 Sing to God.

Put his name to music.

Construct a road for the one who rides the plains with Yah, his name.

Celebrate before him.

5 Father of fatherless and judge of widows

is God in his lair of holiness.

6 God causes those who are alone to dwell in a household,

leading prisoners out among female singers,

but stubborn ones settle barren land.

7 O God when you went out at the front of your people;

when you marched in the desert. Selah

8 The land shook, even the skies rained before the face of God.

This was Sinai, before the face of God, the God of Israel.

9 You showered rain on your inheritance freely, God; 

It was tired but you established it.

10 Your mob dwelt in it.

God, in your goodness you made preparations for the afflicted.

11 The Lord gives a word.

The women who announce the news are a great army.

12 The kings of armies flee, they flee.

The women who stayed at home divide the loot.

13 When you men lie down between the saddlebags

(they are) like the wings of a dove overlaid with silver,

with its wings of greenish gold.

14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it,

It snowed in Zalmon.

15 Mountain of God,

Mountain of Bashan,

Mountain of peaks,

mountain of Bashan,

16 Why are you standing watch,

mountains of peaks?

The mountain God desired for his dwelling, 

even Yahweh, dwells forever.

17 The chariotry of God is twenty-thousand, multiple thousands.

My lord was among them.

Sinai was within his holiness.

18 You went up to the height,

(You took captives captive.

You took gifts among men,

[even the stubborn ones]) 

For Yahweh God to dwell.

19 Blessed be my lord.

day by day he loads himself up for us.

God is our salvation. Selah

20 The God who is ours is God of saving actions,

and to Yahweh my lord

belong the exits for death.

21 But God will pierce the head of his enemies;

the top of the hair of the one who walks about in his guilt.

22 My lord said, “from Bashan I will bring back, 

I will bring back from the depths of the sea 

23 so that you might plunge your feet in their blood,

the tongue of your dogs will have their share of the enemies.”

24 They see your movements, God,

the movements of my God, My king in holiness.

25 The singers go in front, the musicians are behind,

between them the girls striking tambourines.

26 Bless God in the assemblies,

Yahweh from the fountain of Israel.

27 There is Benjamin, the least,

chiefs of Judah ruling their crowds,

chiefs of Zebulun, chiefs of Naphtali.

 28 Your God commanded your strength.

Be strong God. This you do for us

29 from your palace.

Up to Jerusalem kings transport a gift to you.

30 Rebuke the beast of the reeds,

a congregation of mighty ones among the young bulls of the peoples.

He scatters the peoples, fouling pieces of silver. 

They delight in war.

31 Ambassadors come from Egypt. 

Cush’s hands hurry to God.

32 Kingdoms of the earth sing to God.

They make music my Lord. Selah

33 To the one who rides in the skies,

the eastern skies.

Lo he gives out with his voice a loud voice.

34 Concede strength to God. 

His majesty is over Israel.

His strength is in the clouds.

35 God is to be feared from your holy place,

God of Israel.

He gives strength and might to the people.

Blessed be God.


Dan: [5:33] All right Dad it’s quite long uh you’ve nicely broken it up for us into a few different triumphant sections yeah and the first one you’ve got triumphant grace as you’re heading over the top of it and this is really triumphant grace in the sense that God is giving David’s this, sense of peace almost in his life which doesn’t last long but uh there is this section as he brings the ark of the covenant in and he’s celebrating it and he’s dancing around his ephod and all that kind of stuff his wife bags him out for it but there is this element of you know God is now in Jerusalem. David is setting up his throne in Jerusalem as well and we’re we’re settled yeah 

David: there’s a sense in which the war is over and it’s you know my memory always goes back to the dancing man in Martin Place, and it goes back there because my parents were there on that day celebrating the end of World War II and the leaping and the hooting and the carrying on.


[6:36] You just couldn’t keep the people away it was so exciting and so this isn’t about David coming to his throne it’s about God finally taking up residence in the place where he said he would cause his name to dwell and David gets the privilege after defeating all of his enemies to bring the Ark of the Covenant which is like the footstool of God’s throne to the place where God said it should be, and the whole place goes ape wild.

[7:06] And that’s a very exciting thing. The enemies are scattered everywhere.

[7:12] It’s a lovely line, the enemies are scattered, those who hate him have fled from his face, and the righteous rejoice.

So this is a great, exciting day, and of course the command is sing, sing, sing. Yep.

But tucked away in that is verse 4. 

Dan: So you’re referring to the bit that says, construct a road for the one who rides the plains with Yahweh his name?

David: Yeah yeah and if you say prepare a way for Yahweh who do we think of Dan: Elijah Elijah no Elijah the second Elijah I guess John the Baptist is more yeah what I mean sorry yeah okay 

David: so you’ve got this this is the exact line I think that Isaiah picks up you know that a voice of one crying in the wilderness prepare the way for Yahweh uh construct a road for the one who rides the plains with Yahweh.

[8:08] David is looking forward to a crowd of people traveling the road with the glory of Yahweh in front of them.

But he’s not looking back, he’s looking forward.

And then along comes Isaiah and says there’s going to be this voice.

And then along comes John the Baptist and he is the voice.

[8:25] And who rides into town? The glory of the Lord? 

Dan: Jesus. 

David: Jesus walks over the hill.

And you go, are you the one? Are you the donkey? donkey are you the coming one yep here i am dunk me uh it wasn’t it didn’t happen the way i guess everybody visualized. An ordinary man is the one God has designated who is God come to take up residence with us 

Dan: the glory of the lord that leads his people yeah okay yeah and Dan: And the song is going to then switch backwards, looking to the past, where God did show up in his glory and lead the people.

[9:08] We’re talking about the exodus from Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, into the deserts, Mount Sinai, all that kind of stuff.

So we then have, you know, talk about God riding on the plains, and then we go back and we think about, yeah, going to Sinai and God looking after his people.

David: It’s this yeah so you do the retrospective and you go back to where Sinai starts and brings his people through the wilderness and all of those visual images, what I think is really exciting is as this song looks back on the past it’s doing so with an eye to the future now yeah.

 [9:51] If Israel’s gospel was, we are the chosen people, we’re going to occupy the promised land and all the rest of the nations can go to hell in a basket, God’s going to bomb them into oblivion and we’re going to be the chosen people and erect temples and we’re the best in the world.

If that was the view and that was what the old covenant was about, apart from the fact that it failed miserably, that’s not the consciousness with which these people sang 3,000 years ago.

David and these people are singing about something bigger in the future.

They’re looking forward to a bigger king, a bigger kingdom.

They’re not looking forward to annihilating the nations. they’re looking forward to the nations becoming one nation under God’s king and that’s new covenant stuff so you embedded in these old covenant songs is a new covenant promise and a perspective and so this is you know David is the anointed one but he’s looking for a much bigger one.

[11:00] And so this is a, we talk about Christocentric, that this is Christ in the old covenant as promise.

And we talk about Christotelic, Christ being the end to which these people look forward, but they didn’t understand what it would look like.

Both of those things are happening in this song. And that, so he goes back to Sinai and he tells the story what Yahweh has done. great story. it’s triumph um gives you a bit of a picture of music in the old testament so you have a procession and you have a process of. [11:44] An army doing the battling, doing the fighting, and then coming home and sharing out the loot.

Dan: Well, yeah, let’s get to talk a lot here about the women. So women get mentioned quite a few times as we go through here. Women are announcing everything.

They’re the ones who stay home, but then they go and divide all the loot up and they get to take all the silver and stuff.

Like it’s, why are the women doing it? Why are the women doing it?

David: Okay, the women are doing it because the men are away fighting, most of the men.

There’s a group of men David does this very significant thing the men who guard the baggage share in the loot along with the guys who did the fighting so it’s it’s not this us versus them within the army we are one army and we share the one inheritance so there’s men who are left behind to guard and we picture them it’s a beautiful picture confuses the daylights out of translators I might add, when you men lie down between the saddlebags.

So we’re out fighting, and there’s a bunch of guys back there who are sort of sleeping among the saddlebags with the donkeys while we’re doing the fighting.

And then when we come home with all the loot, the women, the news of the victories are first announced by the women who stay home.

So you have this picture of the women announcing good news.

Dan: [13:11] It’s going to be nice for Jesus’ resurrection and women being the ones here at first. And now it’s good news to all the apostles. 

David: The victory over death is won. And who gets to announce it first? 

Dan: Mary. Yeah, women. It’s great. 

David: So they come back, tell the men. The men go out. What have the men been doing? Flying around among the saddlebags.

[13:33] Hiding in the upper room, whatever they were doing. but now everybody gets to share the loot and the benefits of this great victory and so the song rolls on, we’ve announced the good news we’ve announced he’s coming and yee-ha time to share the loot it’s a pretty good picture 

Dan: now Dad, as the psalm keeps going we seem to have this repetitive notion of mountains and mountains and mountains and then mountains again and then there’s another mountain plus another one so why are we talking about all these mountains like what’s the point of it, because you know I get that there’s you know the mountain of God this is mount Zion, there’s mount Sinai which has already been mentioned earlier yeah and now we’re talking about Bashan mountains of peaks Bashan again we’re talking about mountains of God and mountains of Gods like it’s just it’s almost it’s very repetitive yeah 

David: so the Canaanites had this this idea that the Gods lived on the Mount Hermon range. [14:32] And it’s called Zalmon, which is the word for north, that sort of thing. So we’re up in the north, and we’ve got these northern mountains. And if you look at Israel. [14:43] The mountains of Israel are like the Blue Mountains. This is short.

Your mother looks at them and says they’re just hills. She’s used to the Rocky Mountains in Canada. But when you get up to Mount Hermon, you’re looking at 3,000 meters. That’s a mountain. And Jesus said, so there you are. This is the home of the gods, like Mount Zeus. Gods have got to live up there somewhere.

And God mocks this nonsense brilliantly. so you have Mount Herman is the home of the Gods and the Gods are all up there looking down and you know everybody’s got to look towards their mountains, and God’s saying what are you looking at we’re coming to get you you’re toast so, Bashan which we know as the golden heights the largest tank battle in history happens on the Golan Heights. This is the home of the gods. This is the gateway into Syria in the east. [15:44] You know, this is the Canaanite hope. And so we have Yahweh going up there going, yeah, right, these are mine.

You guys can rack off. There are no gods up there. [15:58] And so we’re mocking this whole Canaanite parody. And as we mock the Canaanite parody, Where do you put the transfiguration?

[16:08] Jesus stands on Mount Hermon, is transfigured into the glory of the Lord like he was at Mount Sinai. This is my son, never mind those other gods. Do what he says. And this song is celebrating that a thousand years before then.

Dan: Yeah. So your next heading here is for triumphs now, which is now for David. Yeah. Not now for us. but this section talks a lot about, you know, we’ve got God’s salvation coming, we’ve got his enemies being, you know, gone and so I find the psalms very repetitious, Dad, to be honest.

Like they just, it’s constantly, you know, we’re in trouble, God shows up, everyone’s saved.

David: For us it sounds trivial but if you were actually in battle, If it was your people being shot at, there’s an immediacy to this.

[17:08] So you look at a picture like, my Lord said from Bashan, I will bring back, I’ll bring back from the depths of the sea. We’re talking about resurrection here.

[17:20] So that you might plunge your feet in their blood.

Suddenly the passion of the cry for vengeance. You people attacked us. You smacked my baby’s head against a post. Blessed is he who’s going to do that to you. This is, you know, we defer vengeance to Yahweh.

[17:42] But we still are going to celebrate the fact that he does it because there is no injustice in God’s world.

And you’ve got to see the horror of this. The tongue of your dogs will have the share of the enemies.

And you think of those instances in the Old Testament where the dogs took care of Jezebel and company. When you look at those pictures, you say, this is not the way people today want to think about things.

[18:10] This is inhuman but the fact of the matter is when you declare war on God and his people and when you declare war on his image and you do all these terrible things God’s justice is coming, and it is fierce and it’s horrendous and until we appreciate that we’re never going to appreciate that Jesus took that on himself in my place, and we have to look this thing square in the eye and go don’t euphemise it don’t minimize it Jesus copped it for me and so that’s why we have to look at these things in the psalm and for you and me it could be that you know like there’s the beginning of the story there’s the back of the novel you know who done it we don’t appreciate the pain the agony the suffering.

[18:59] I would suggest, if you want to understand some of this, go and look at the footage of Israel’s war on Gaza. [19:07] And see them pulling the babies out of the rubble and then see the crying and the passion and then you will see God’s people, crying out to God for justice and vengeance and he delivers it.

But the surprise is he delivers it on himself so that we can be forgiven. that’s the big surprise 

Dan: and i started to then shift over to you know God’s defeated all these enemies and stuff now we have all the enemies bringing tribute and coming to God to give him gifts and all that kind of stuff which is kind of very much a natural progression of you know you lost the war now you bring all the stuff to me 

David: except that it’s like i i think of Elisha when um he struck the army of his enemy blind and said come with me i’ll lead you, and he brings them to the king and the king says to Elisha will i kill them and he says no and so they spread a feast for them and these guys are there they open their eyes and they go we’re captives, we’re for the slaughter.

[20:20] And the answer is no, we’re going to spread an end of war. End of war, grace does it. And that’s the scene you have at the end of this song.

[20:30] And when they realize that they’re safe, that they’re not going to be slaughtered, come and join the feast and celebrate this God who does grace.

[20:42] And it’s a long song, but when you’ve been through a long war and you get to that place and God goes come and eat at my table, it’s a wow moment Dan: and that’s the invitation we have too 

David: that’s the invitation we have 

Dan: come and eat with God at his table Jesus paid the price yep 

David: there’s the Lord’s Supper there’s the marriage supper of the Lamb where do you want to be on that day, so if you’re going to let the elements pass you by at the Lord’s Supper that tells you where you’re going to be on judgment day if there’s anything more important, it’s your god. Get rid of it.

Dan: Well, that brings us to the end of this episode. If you guys would like to come and grab the study notes to study this psalm in a bit more depth, you can head over to, and you can grab the study notes there.

Otherwise, please hit the subscribe button. Make sure you join us again next week.

We’re continuing. We’ve still got Psalm 69 to go, and we’ll see you then.