Psalm 68 is not a familiar psalm to most. The verses are not easy to understand or remember as well known psalms such as Psalm 23 or Psalm 51. Nevertheless, psalm 68 is a very significant psalm. It speaks of the movement of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land (verses 1-23). It speaks of the worship of the Lord in the Promised Land (verses 24-27). And it gives the vision of a future glory when kingdoms around the earth will participate in the worship of the Lord (verses 28-35).

The point of the psalm is the inevitability of God keeping his promise. There is nothing too hard for God. He promised Israel they would go through the wilderness, through all the obstacles and enemies in it, and inherit the Promised Land though it was full of hostile, strong opposition.

 Verse one reads, “God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!” These were the words Moses would say (Numbers 11) before Israel would set forth through the wilderness. They were great words of faith. The people of Israel were a huge mass of people, but the enemies of God were more.

Verse 2 teaches the actual resistance of enemies to God: “As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God.” Smoke isn’t substantial; it is blown away with the wind. Wax is easily melted when it meets with heat. The actual resistance of men or devils to the Lord is nothing. It may appear to be substantial, or formidable, or too mighty. It is, in reality, nothing at all.

The test for God’s people is faith. There was no doubt the people of God would enter the Promised Land. The question was who would believe? Many in Israel who heard the promise of God did not inherit the promise because they did not believe. Faith is never true faith until it is put to the test. Those who perished in the desert without entering the land were those who perished through unbelief.

When faith is put to the test, then does it act if it is real. God did not ask for blind faith. He told Israel he would deliver them from Egypt. He did it through miraculous plagues. He destroyed Egypt at the Red Sea. He gave them manna and water in the desert. Nevertheless, many did not believe. When promises are long in coming, those who don’t believe will dispute the truth of the promise.

These points to the truth of Christ. There is demanded upon those who accept the invitation of life in Christ to have a future orientation. This doesn’t mean they don’t have joy and live productive lives in the here and now. Rather, it means the value of a right relationship with God now and forever outweighs any circumstances or trials, even facing death, here and now.

God teaches his people he is their Father (verse 5). He redeems his people from the prison of sin and death and gives them a home with him (verse 6). If we do not value fellowship with God above all else we will remain with parched souls (verse 6b). This is the warning Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 10. Do not be like the Israelites who perished in the desert from unbelief. The desert is symbolic of a parched soul. Christ is the source of living water for our souls.

To embrace Christ we must turn from sin and unbelief. Unbelief rejects the value of Christ. If he were to come from heaven and personally invite you to come to him, would you shut your eyes, and close your ears? Are his promises any the less unchangeable because he comes by his Spirit to confirm his word in the Scriptures?

If the Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed. The greatest temptation is to live without trials. Some of the Israelites perished in the desert from unbelief, but those who persevered became stronger in their faith. They understood that one who has a right relationship with God is blessed in the midst of trouble. He still has an incorruptible inheritance. He still has sin forgiven and no reason to fear death.

The Christian is blessed in life and death. He has no portion of the curse of this world. Whatever he suffers is momentary. God keeping his promise is certain. When we doubt, he points us to the cross. “Look here, you may be under a cross now, but you are not under the curse.”