Sermon: Christ Leads the Way (Psalm 68)

Christ Leads the Way

Psalm 68:1-4 and 18-20 (ESV)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;

and those who hate him shall flee before him!

[2] As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;

as wax melts before fire,

so the wicked shall perish before God!

[3] But the righteous shall be glad;

they shall exult before God;

they shall be jubilant with joy!

[4] Sing to God, sing praises to his name;

lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;

his name is the Lord;

exult 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

[20] Our God is a God of salvation,

and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

Psalm 68 is a Psalm of triumph and victory.  It is a Psalm that military leaders have quoted in the past after final victory over an enemy.  It is the Psalm that was in the mind of many after Jesus’ final victory on the cross and after His resurrection.

The ascension of Christ forty days after His resurrection was as it were a victory lap or a crowning of glory.  A triumphant King leads the way home after the war is won.

This Psalm will be our final look into the prophetic nature of the Psalms and how through David and others, the Holy Spirit was working to teach about the coming Savior.

1. Jesus Christ Scatters the Enemy (68:1-4)

God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;

and those who hate him shall flee before him!

If we’re to understand this text we must go back through the centuries to the time of Moses in the wilderness.  Moses had a saying that he quoted every time they moved to a different location.

Numbers 10:35-36 (ESV)

And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you.”  [36] And when it rested, he said, “Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”

As the Ark of the Covenant moved out, God’s presence went before the Hebrews and enemies were scattered.

God was scattering His physical enemies during the time of Moses and the wilderness.  The picture is as if the ark was moving through a crowd or multitude of enemies and they were being scattered out of the way.  Enemies were being leveled like bowling pins when a strike is rolled.  God’s people were following close behind and were protected as they moved through this large crowd of enemies.

We see these words fulfilled during the time of Moses.  Then, David quotes them as they were true in his day as well.

[2] As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;

as wax melts before fire,

so the wicked shall perish before God!

Just as easy as wind can blow smoke away so God scatters His enemies.

Just like wax melts and runs away when it’s held to the fire so God’s enemies are driven away by the heat of His power.

Just as the Ark moved through and mowed down the enemies of God so Jesus Christ, the true Ark of God defeated all His enemies.  Jesus’ enemies were not physical enemies such as opposing armies or nations.  His enemies were in the Spiritual realm.  Satan and his forces were no match for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Sin, death and the grave were scattered has Lord Jesus blew them away through the victory that was His on the cross.

Just like the Ark cleared the way for the Hebrews, so Jesus Christ clears the way for us.  His power and might scatter the enemy.  Our enemy is His enemy.  He has led the way.  He is our Captain who is on the front line pushing back our enemies so we can share in His victory.

2. Jesus Clears the Way to Heaven (68:18-20)

[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

[20] Our God is a God of salvation,

and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

He leads us in conquering sin as He lived a perfect and sinless life.  His perfection will be ours some day.  He entered the tomb at death and rose victorious overcoming death and the grave.  As our Captain, He has scattered death, our great foe.  Now we too can have victory over death, not by defeating this enemy but because we are following our Captain.  Jesus has freed His people from these great enemies.  He has also

led the way to heaven.  He shows us the way and He is currently seated in heaven waiting for the time when the Father will nod His head and tell the Son go and get them.  Lead them to their heavenly home. Rise O Lord and have Your glorious day.  Retrieve Your servants and bring them home.

3. Following Jesus (Ephesians 4:7-11)

The fact that Jesus has led His people into new and wonderful things is found in many placed in the Bible.  His sinless life is a picture of the lives we will lead in heaven.  He is the first fruit of those who will rise from the grave.  He ascended into heaven and we too will ascend into heaven at death.

In order to receive these great blessings of the Savior, we must be following Him.  Again, the picture is He leads and overpowers the enemies and we fall in place right behind Him and are safe.  Following Jesus is vital for us.

In teaching on proper Christian conduct, the Apostle Paul makes a very important connection for us.  He quotes from our Psalm to explain why we must be following hard after Christ.

Ephes. 4:7-11 (ESV)

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  [8] Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,

and he gave gifts to men.”

[9] (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth?  [10] He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)  [11] And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,

The Apostle Paul quotes from Psalm 68 showing that it is Christ that David wrote about.  Jesus Christ has led captivity captive and scattered the enemy.  It is Christ that leads His people and it is Christ that gives gifts to His people for the purpose of following Him and helping others follow Him.

His logic flows like this:

Jesus Christ has led the way to heaven through the ascension.  He has cut a path through hostile forces to make a way for us to follow.  Because our enemies are not physical but spiritual, doing battle and following Christ look a little different in the spiritual realm.  In chapter 4-6 of Ephesians Paul discusses how we are to follow Christ by saying “walk in this manner”.  Walk in unity, walk in holiness, walk in love, walk in the light, walk in wisdom.  He’s really saying, walk like Jesus and follow in close behind Him.  By walking or living as Christ lived we will be safe from spiritual enemies.

Paul also discusses the fact that it is Christ, our Captain, who distributes gifts for service.  These gifts are not to be kept but to be shared.  If you want to follow Christ, walk as He walked and use your spiritual gifts.

We must ask ourselves, Am I following hard after Christ by living in obedience and by sharing my grace gift?  Are others being encouraged to follow Christ as they watch me live and watch me use the gifts Christ has given me?

Christ’s ascension into heaven foreshadows our ascension into heaven to be with Him.

1 Thes. 4:13-18 (ESV)

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  [14] For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  [15] For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  [16] For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  [17] Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  [18] Therefore encourage one another with these words.

The call today for us is to not fight physical battles with God’s enemies.  Burning Kurans is not the type of battle God would have us fight.

Fight the spiritual battle by obeying Christ and using your gift in the church.  You will be following hard and encouraging other s to follow hard as well.

One Comment on “Sermon: Christ Leads the Way (Psalm 68)

  1. It’s very encouraging and i am blessed by it… GOD richly bless you

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