TO THE CHOIRMASTER. A PSALM OF DAVID. A SONG.
1 God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
and those who hate him shall flee before him!
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.
19 Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
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!
(Read the whole Psalm 68)
The Ark of the Presence
This rushing waterfall of a psalm, some commentators believe (see Kidner, Tyndale Commentary), may have been composed for David’s procession with the ark ‘from the house of Obed-Edom to the city of Dvid with rejoicing’ (2 Sam. 6:12). The opening lines echo of the words with which the ark set out on all its journeys (Num. 10:35), and finds its climax in God’s ascent of ‘the high mount’ which he has chosen for his dwelling.
The psalm tells the story, firstly, of God’s victorious march from Egypt, with its culmination at Jerusalem (7–18), and, secondly, the power and majesty of his reign seen in the taking His rightful place before his people, the flow of worshippers and the vassals to his footstool (19–31).
The Foreign Raiders
One of the most striking things about this psalm is God is anything but invisible and his enemies are anything but solid. So it is with God’s revealed presences.(v. 2) Hills skip like calve and mountains melt like wax. (Ps 97:5; Ps 29:6). The enemy who once threatening, is now peaceful and subdued. “You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious,”(v. 18)
The Mount of Glory
This history and prophecy of salvation, set out in Israelite terms, is presented in Ephesians 4:7–16 as a miniature of a far greater ascension, in which Christ led captivity captive, to share out better spoils of victory than these, in the gift (and gifts) of the Spirit. (see Acts 2:33). Consequently in Christian history this has been from early times a psalm for Pentecost – as indeed it was in the Jewish synagogue for the harvest feast of that name, the Feast of Weeks.
Christ our King has given us gifts, to live lives that “Ascribe power to God,” so that every act of valor, strength, goodness or meaning will declare, “He is the one who gives power and strength to his people.”(v 34, 35)