PSALMS 67:1 – 69:36 and 2 CORINTHIANS 5:1–21
This is a Psalm of harvest. It is filled with praise and great rejoicing. The impact of the harvest is such that the entire world will take notice. The abundance will help bring forth the Fear of the Lord. It is a Psalm that has deep application for our day seeing that we are looking forward to the Feast of Tabernacles. The Old Testament promise of an abundant harvest was predicated on the observance of God’s statutes and commandments. Let’s take note of the promise as seen from the Book of Leviticus.
Lev 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Lev 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
Lev 26:5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Lev 26:6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.
The harvest goes beyond an increase of crops and grains. It consists of joy, peace and fruitfulness. It is also a season when the enemies of the Lord yield and give way. It is exciting to think that we may well be on the threshold of a mighty harvest; the Feast of Tabernacles is on the horizon.
One of the key characteristics that distinguished Moses from others was that he knew the ways of God. So many people only want to be partakers of the power and might of God but give little heed to His priestly qualities. There has to be a deep rooted desire to know Him and to be like Him (Exo 33:13). This requires a denial of self-alongside painful experiences. This is why vision is so important; it helps to see beyond the here and now. In verse 2 the Psalmist speaks of knowing His way and the health among nations. This also means knowing the names of the Lord such as the God who heals. There will be a river of joy; blessing and healing that will go forth during this time of great harvest. It is difficult to imagine the extent of blessing that the Feast of Tabernacles entails. In verses 3-4 we see the Lord as judge who separates the sheep from the goats. It is a picture of the 2nd coming. (Mat 25:32-33)
One of the titles attributed to this Psalm is the Battle Cry of Moses (Num 10:35). David gives a strong portrayal of both the Father and the Son. There are also several different names of God mentioned in this Psalm. It is a picture of the Lord as the triumphant warrior king.
In verses 1-3 we have the familiar chorus of “Let God Arise”. As the Lord ascends from His throne the enemies become dispersed and scattered. The analogy of smoke being driven away by the wind is used as how the enemy yields and give way before the presence of God. We need to come to know the power of His presence and not to take it lightly. When the Lord God is in the midst of the people there is power, might and rest (Zeph 3:17). In verse 4 we have another oft sung song of praise and triumph. It is a tune that carries a sense of victory and rejoicing. The power of God is displayed as the earth shakes and the heavens open. Here again we get a picture of the presence of God as the Mt. of Sinai shook when God came on the scene. Our God is an awesome God indeed. In verses 9-10 David picks up the theme of the harvest and the plentiful rains. It is a free flowing outpouring that cannot be measured. In verses 11-12 we see battles that may well reflect the period of the Judges.
In verse 14 we see a strong contrast upon the Mt. of Salmon. It was known for its darkness until the snows came which transformed the mountains into a blanket of white. This is what happens when God comes on the scene. This should encourage any of us who go through deep dark trials; one little taste of the Presence of God can change everything. In verses 15-17 we the hill of Zion as the preferred resting place of the Lord. There are angels who encompass the mountain along with the Lord who is among them.
In verses 20-21 we have the warning of the consequences of those who continue in their sin. This is the danger of embracing false doctrine that has an appeal for making allowances for matters that God considers to be sin. David describes the joys of the sanctuary; it is the privilege given to those who have known the ways of God. This is how we are able to make an approach into the Holy Place and Holy and Holies. It is an intentional decision that needs to be made. In verses 30-32 we have a picture of two future events that were to take place. The first would be the inauguration of Solomon’s temple (2 Chr 5). It was a time when all the nations made peace with Israel. The next event would be the time of the millennium when people will beat their swords into ploughshares. We also see Egypt and Ethiopia being added to those who come to worship the king.
The final verses sound out a triumphant note to the power of our God. The command is for all nations of the world to sing His praises. It is a picture of the last days when the Lord returns at the time of the 2nd coming. It will be a period of great joy and rejoicing for those who are anxiously awaiting Him but it will be terror and death to those who are not in alignment with Him. The power and presence of God comes forth from the Holy Place and Holy of Holies. It is here where we come to know of His great and awesome power. One cannot help but get stirred up when reading these verses prayerfully and reverently. It should also provoke the Fear of the Lord within our lives which will help ensure a close circumspect walk with our warrior king. To know Him as the warrior king we must know his ways as a royal and abiding priest.
This Psalm of David is written after Absalom’s rebellion but like many other passages of scripture it conveys a deeper meaning. This is one of the beautiful attributes of the Word of God. It can take an experience by someone like David and project a much broader picture; in this case a clearer picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though David’s sin was abhorrent before God it provided him a glimpse into the future passion and suffering of the Lord. David’s experience helps to bring clarity as to all that the Lord went through at the time of the Cross. Let us never forget the difference between David and Jesus in this scenario. David made a choice to sin when he lured Bathsheba to himself while paving the way for Uriah’s death. Jesus chose to willingly become sin as the sacrificial lamb.
In the first 5 verses we see David already being able to capture a picture of what the Lord had gone through. This is one of the fruits of sin. It allows the enemy to zoom in to intimidate and overwhelm the righteous. The hedge of protection is removed allowing for an open season of taunting and mocking. This is what happened to David as a result of his sin and to the Lord for becoming sin. There is a holy dependence upon God that is seen in these verses. In David’s case he was able to acknowledge his foolishness and the fact that his sins were open before God.
In verse 8 we the isolation that accompanies sin. One feels like a stranger at such times and it requires an absolute dependence upon the mercies of God. Jesus as the Son of man was totally reliant upon the mercies of His Father while agonizing upon the Cross. In verse 9 we have a verse that speaks clearly of the Lord in His zeal for fulfilling the will of His Father. This zeal was on display when He overturned the tables of the moneychangers. It is a zeal that needs to apprehend us in our walk with God. It results from an intimate communion with God. We become sensitive to that which relates to God. This kind of intimacy is seen between the king and his bride in Psalm 45
Psa 45:7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
In verses 10-12 Jesus experienced the mocking and jeering of sinners who gathered around him. It is a small picture of what the eternal torment in hell will be like. David came to know of this as well. The taunts and tormenting of demons will be endless since there will be no God to intervene or appeal to. Both David and the Lord could still make their appeal to God to be heard and delivered. We must learn to seek Him while he may be found (vs 16-18).
The culmination of the Lord’s suffering is captured in verses 19-20. Many speculate that the Lord ultimately died of a broken heart. Here He was dying upon a wooden cross for the very people who are now torturing, mocking and deriding him. He longs for the presence of His Father but He seems to have turned away; He is suffering physically in His human body. It is understood how the Lord could expire in such a short time. We can never know the measure and extent of His sufferings for mankind. He was depicted as the lowest of criminals by way of the vinegar and gall that was offered him. Can we catch the true essence of all that is taking place here? The very Son of God is being crucified as a lowly criminal by the very people He has come to save and rescue. There are no words that could ever capture all that is taking place. In verse 26 we see the basest nature of man coming forth. There is no sympathy or compassion whatsoever being given to either David or the Lord. This base nature is rising to the surface once again in our day. We better absorb the events in David’s life as well as the passion of our Lord because the fullness of iniquity is coming to a head.
In verses 30-33 we see the greatness of David and the Lord. In the midst of their extreme suffering they both were able to offer the sacrifice of praise. The heart of the Father is no doubt pleased in such an offering being given under such circumstances. This is the true test of our level of love and consecration. It is how we respond while under duress. Today we complain over the most trivial of issues. Think about it! Our world today is so conditioned to ease and comfort. When something comes along to disrupt our plan or ease we immediately complain and lose peace. How will this kind of mentality survive the very real pressures and challenges that our coming our way? We should evaluate our own lives and think long and hard over this question. There is grace and there is empowerment that will be given to those who seek the Lord now in the secret place. David sinned but David had a relationship with God that he could draw from while going through his battles. There were foundations that were developed in his life. Are we digging ditches and cultivating a similar level of relationship with God today, while he may be found? The days that came upon David and the Lord are soon coming upon our world. It was their intimate walk and relationship with God that helped to preserve them in the hour of trial. They had a heart that sought nothing more than to do that which pleased the Father. We need to learn from their example. Dear Lord, have mercy upon us.
2 Cor 5
Paul picks up on the theme of placing emphasis on the internal man as opposed to the exterior. The earthly external tabernacle of God, our bodies, will dissolve but it is who we are that will carry on into eternity. There is an immortal body that God is preparing for those who believe upon Him in heaven. This body will be flawless, youthful and not suffering from the limitations that come with the physical body. Paul had a taste of this eternal state and now has a longing for it (2 Cor 12:2-3). This is why Paul seeks to drive home this point in contrasting the external with the internal. The Corinthians, like many of us today put such an emphasis on our outward bodily appearance. We need to steward well our vessel but not at the expense of that which is internal and eternal. There are spiritual garments that need to be appropriated as we walk in obedience to Christ. Paul lists several of these garments in Col 3:12-15. These are garments that we can put on as we hear and respond to His voice. If we do not appropriate these garments we will then be likened to Adam who appeared naked before God in the garden. God has his coverings for man but they are obtained as we learn to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).
In verse 5 Paul makes clear that we have received a token of this new glorified body by way of the Holy Spirit. We are earthen vessels that have the opportunity to receive the person of the Holy Spirit into our lives. It is a blessed experience but it is merely a taste of what the glorified bodies will be like in eternity. Paul knows of this and is longing for it while at the same time advocating of it to all the Corinthians. He then goes on to give a quick contrast between the Old and New Testament. The children of Israel walked a physical journey to an appointed destination (Zion) in the Old Testament. The New Testament journey is one based on faith, not by sight. The Old Testament presents to us shadows and types of the real, this is why we must read and understand the truths from the Old Testament.
The judgment seat of Christ becomes the focus of Paul in verses 9-11. He speaks of the terror of the Lord and the awesomeness of this event. Should we not pause and take stock of our lives and seek the Lord to work within us today? There is nothing that is hid from God, he knows everything about us and we would do well to allow His Word and judgments to do a work within us today. We can allow the work of the cross to render its power of forgiveness and healing so that we are prepared to stand before him on that day. Sadly, many of us just carry on with our lives oblivious to the opportunity we have today. May we hear his voice and allow our hearts to be changed (Psa 95:7).
One of the most transforming moments in my life was when I came to know the power of God’s love. I was in a backslidden state and yet His love just overwhelmed me. It served as a catalyst for change in my life. I was able to do an about face and begin afresh a new level of intimacy with Jesus. This is what Paul seems to be conveying in verses 14-15. The realization that Jesus died for his sin compelled him now to live his life for Christ. He is no longer his own. His life and ministry is now for Christ and not for himself. If this revelation can get deep into our spirit it will help us to serve and fulfil His will and not our own.
In verse 17 Paul speaks of the new man in Christ. It is like the reordering of Genesis all over again. Old things are passed away and ALL things have become new. The new birth is first instantaneous but it also progressive. The parallels between the natural and spiritual births of new-borns help to make the point. A spiritual birth is like a new-born baby that must develop and grow. There needs to be proper spiritual parentage in conjunction with nutritious spiritual food. This is why the proper instruction of the Word of God is a must. It aids us in our growth and provides discernment in knowing good from evil (Isa 7:15).
In verses 18-21 we are reminded of our role as ambassadors for Christ. It is Christ in you and me that can reconcile the world unto Himself. An ambassador is to serve as a representative of a nation; what kind of message or witness do we provide to our world? Think back to the people who introduced you to Christ; do we do the same for others? We have this treasure in earthen vessels so we have the responsibility of witnessing and showing forth that treasure to others. This is how the Lord reconciles people unto himself; it is through chosen vessels. He died for us, loved us when we were unlovable so should we not then live our lives for Him? This is the primary message that Paul is seeking to get across to the Corinthians; it is a message that needs to be put across to each of us today.