Matthew Henry's Commentary
68:1-6 None ever hardened his heart against God, and prospered. God is the joy of his people, then let them rejoice when they come before him. He who derives his being from none, but gives being to all, is engaged by promise and covenant to bless his people. He is to be praised as a God of mercy and tender compassion. He ever careth for the afflicted and oppressed: repenting sinners, who are helpless and exposed more than any fatherless children, are admitted into his family, and share all their blessings.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.
Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
O God, when thou wentest forth before thy people, when thou didst march through the wilderness; Selah:
68:7-14 Fresh mercies should put us in mind of former mercies. If God bring his people into a wilderness, he will be sure to go before them in it, and to bring them out of it. He provided for them, both in the wilderness and in Canaan. The daily manna seems here meant. And it looks to the spiritual provision for God's Israel. The Spirit of grace and the gospel of grace are the plentiful rain, with which God confirms his inheritance, and from which their fruit is found. Christ shall come as showers that water the earth. The account of Israel's victories is to be applied to the victories over death and hell, by the exalted Redeemer, for those that are his. Israel in Egypt among the kilns appeared wretched, but possessed of Canaan, during the reigns of David and Solomon, appeared glorious. Thus the slaves of Satan, when converted to Christ, when justified and sanctified by him, look honourable. When they reach heaven, all remains of their sinful state disappear, they shall be as the wings of the dove, covered with silver, and her feathers as gold. Full salvation will render those white as snow, who were vile and loathsome through the guilt and defilement of sin.
The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.
Thy congregation hath dwelt therein: thou, O God, hast prepared of thy goodness for the poor.
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
Kings of armies did flee apace: and she that tarried at home divided the spoil.
Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.
When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.
The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan; an high hill as the hill of Bashan.
68:15-21 The ascension of Christ must here be meant, and thereto it is applied, Eph 4:8. He received as the purchase of his death, the gifts needful for the conversion of sinners, and the salvation of believers. These he continually bestows, even on rebellious men, that the Lord God might dwell among them, as their Friend and Father. He gave gifts to men. Having received power to give eternal life, the Lord Jesus bestows it on as many as were given him, Joh 17:2. Christ came to a rebellious world, not to condemn it, but that through him it might be saved. The glory of Zion's King is, that he is a Saviour and Benefactor to all his willing people, and a consuming fire to all that persist in rebellion against him. So many, so weighty are the gifts of God's bounty, that he may be truly said to load us with them. He will not put us off with present things for a portion, but will be the God of our salvation. The Lord Jesus has authority and power to rescue his people from the dominion of death, by taking away the sting of it from them when they die, and giving them complete victory over it when they rise again. The crown of the head, the chief pride and glory of the enemy, shall be smitten; Christ shall crush the head of the serpent.
Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever.
The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.
Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.
But God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.
The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea:
68:22-28 The victories with which God blessed David over the enemies of Israel, are types of Christ's victory, for himself and for all believers. Those who take him for theirs, may see him acting as their God, as their King, for their good, and in answer to their prayers; especially in and by his word and ordinances. The kingdom of the Messiah shall be submitted to by all the rulers and learned in the world. The people seem to address the king, ver. 28. But the words are applicable to the Redeemer, to his church, and every true believer. We pray, that thou, O God the Son, wilt complete thine undertaking for us, by finishing thy good work in us.
That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same.
They have seen thy goings, O God; even the goings of my God, my King, in the sanctuary.
The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.
Bless ye God in the congregations, even the Lord, from the fountain of Israel.
There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali.
Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us.
Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee.
68:29-31 A powerful invitation is given to those that are without, to join the church. Some shall submit from fear; overcome by their consciences, and the checks of Providence, they are brought to make peace with the church. Others will submit willingly, ver. 29,31. There is that beauty and benefit in the service of God, and in the gospel of Christ which went forth from Jerusalem, which is enough to invite sinners out of all nations.
Rebuke the company of spearmen, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the people, till every one submit himself with pieces of silver: scatter thou the people that delight in war.
Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.
Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah:
68:32-35 God is to be admired and adored with reverence and godly fear, by all that attend in his holy places. The God of Israel gives strength and power unto his people. Through Christ strengthening us we can do all things, not otherwise; therefore he must have the glory of all we do, with our humble thanks for enabling us to do it, and for accepting the work of his hands in us.
To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.
Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.
O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.