Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Psalm 68:1-10 1
1 May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. 2 As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God. 3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. 4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds—his name is the LORD—and rejoice before him. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. 7 When you went out before your people, O God, when you marched through the wasteland, 8 the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. 9 You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. 10 Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.

clip_image104Background

This psalm was most probably composed by David at the time of the moving of the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed-edom to Mount Zion in Jerusalem. David the King wished to build a Temple for the worship of our God. However, David had to be content with collecting materials, resources and skilled artisans for the administration of the project by his son Solomon. Thus, David never saw the Temple for which he hoped, prayed and worked. It like the Temple joys of heaven for us a distant dream.

This psalm has been described as a collection of short songs and fragments possibly used in a sacred procession at some festival. It celebrated the sovereignty and providence of God.

Biblical Truths

Difficult to interpret, this psalm may have accompanied a liturgy (drama) in the Temple depicting the movement of the Israelites from before “Sinai” (v. 8) to Jerusalem (where God dwells, v. 17). It consists of snippets, each a few verses long, commemorating God’s championship of Israel. Verse 1 echoes Moses’ words whenever the Ark was moved (see Numbers 10:35). “As wax melts” (v. 2) is the language of God’s presence. In Canaanite culture, the storm god, Baal, “rides upon the clouds” (v. 4); here God does so (see also v. 33). He is savior of the needy and persecutor of the ungodly (vv. 5-6). Judges 5:4-5 also associates earthquakes and deluges with Sinai; water was (and is) valuable in Palestine (vv. 8-10).

The first verse is associated in several psalms with the picking up and moving of the Ark of the Covenant from Moses’ time through to David’s own day. These words symbolized God’s presence with His people. In the same way, we should desire our Lord’s leadings in our own life and times. The words here suppose that the Lord had been passive for awhile allowing His enemies a brief period to rampage and do their destruction. This is the history of Christ’s Church. The Lord leads the way, His people follow and His enemies flee.

David continues. Just as smoke is dissipated by wind so that no trace remains, so the foes of God disappear from before His face. Just as wax melts in the flame so do the wicked perish in the presence of God. In verse three David calls upon the righteous to be glad and to rejoice in God’s presence. Just as Israel gloried in sensing God’s presence with the Ark of the Covenant, just as Israel danced and celebrated God’s special presence among them, we are to catch hold of this joy and rejoice in His renewed presence in our lives and in our time.

We are called upon to sing to our God, to praise His name and to extol Him who rides on the clouds. David gives reason for our rejoicing in reciting the acts of God in the desert when God’s people were learning to follow Him. As the generation in the desert with Moses gradually died away, there were many widows and fatherless ones in the camp. But they were all cared for in the just administration which flowed by the grace of God through the hands of His appointed ministers and elders. Always has His true Church been concerned with the poor and needy!

Items for Discussion

  • If we know that God is indeed present and if we know that He is active in the affairs of men, how can we be downcast or discouraged or depressed?
  • What is the opportunity for ministry in our time?
  • If the Lord can protect and provide for His beloved Israel in that terrible desert, what more can He do for us in our own time and place?

 

I Corinthians 12:24-26
24….but God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Background

The Author of 1 Corinthians is the Apostle Paul. Paul had visited the Corinthians on his second missionary journey, and, because of the lack of troubles (Acts 18:10), he was able to stay there eighteen months (Acts 18:11). Most likely, Paul left Corinth in the fall of 51 AD. After concluding his second missionary journey, Paul returned again to Asia on his third journey (c. fall, 52 AD). This time he settled down in Ephesus for almost three years (Acts 19:10; 20:31)—i.e., from the fall of 52 until the spring of 55 AD. While in Ephesus there must have been contact between Corinth and Paul, for he speaks of the Corinthians misunderstanding his “previous letter” in 1 Cor. 5:9. The apostle had to clear up the misunderstanding, as well as address other issues—hence “first” Corinthians was written.

Basically 1 Corinthians deals with abuses of liberty (just as Galatians deals with the stifling of the Spirit because of legalism). The correction Paul gives is not to question their salvation, but to challenge them in their sanctification. Although the apostle is dealing with several different issues, the general theme of the epistle is “the practical implications of progressive sanctification in the context of the Christian community.”

Biblical Truths

The apostle spends considerable time in this letter discussing diversity in worship (11:2–14:40). The ironic thing to note is that the Corinthians sought unity (and identity) precisely where they needed diversity and diversity where they should have unity.

There should also be diversity in the use of spiritual gifts (12:1–14:40), for this very diversity promotes unity. That diversity of gifts is necessary (12:1-31a) can be seen by the analogy of the Godhead (12:4-11) and human anatomy (12:12-26). Apparently the Corinthians were not seeking such diversity in the use of gifts, but instead were seeking primarily to speak in tongues. So Paul concludes with prioritizing the gifts (12:27-31a), tactfully placing tongues and interpretation of tongues in last place.

  • 12:24 Plato used the very same Greek words to describe the various elements of the body in creating soul and body. Paul rejects the idea of the later Gnostics that physical matter is evil and, therefore, the organs degrading. He gives a noble picture of the body with its wonderful organs planned to be the temple of God’s Spirit in opposition to the Epicurean sensualists who existed in Corinth. Paul gives superior honor to the unseen organs of life.
  • 12:25 Paul establishes that there should be no conflict between body parts as this is in conflict itself with God’s plan for the body. Trouble in one organ affects the whole body. A headache may be due to trouble elsewhere and usually is.
  • 12:26 Paul says the church body “feels the hurt” when, like the human body, the entire body feels a hurt finger. One may tingle with joy all over the body thanks to the wonderful nervous system and to the relation between mind and matter.

Items for Discussion

  • Some people in the Church of Corinth felt inferior, some felt independent, some felt in conspicuous—why do you think this happens in a church and what can the congregation do about it?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we encourage the attitude that all are important?
    • Unless we see how important we are to one another, we will be tempted to pull apart in little groups that cause division. When we do that, we become a living testimony to the world of what selfish, worldly Christians act like. People will look at us and conclude that if Christianity produces people like that, like us, they don’t want any of it. And who can blame them? This is not what Jesus desires.
    • Jesus died on the Cross, not only so we could be forgiven, but also so we could love one another and live in unity. The Bible teaches that we are to esteem each other better than ourselves. When one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it. That is true for our physical body. Where do you suffer when you hit your thumb with a hammer? You suffer all over! So when one suffers in the body of Christ, all of us should suffer. When one is honored, all of us should rejoice. We also need to see that there are no insignificant ministries in the church. It is true that we are not all the same. The good news is that we do not need to be.
Additional Study Notes

Items for Discussion in Psalm 68:1-10

  • If we know that God is indeed present and if we know that He is active in the affairs of men, how can we be downcast or discouraged or depressed?
    • It may indicate that our faith is formed on sand not rock
    • We may be overtaken by the world’s negative view of everything
    • Too many people see the half empty glass
  • What is the opportunity for ministry in our time?
    • God gathers the lonely into families and these families become congregations.
    • We can reach outward into missions and help those not within our church
    • We can teach our children to recognize opportunities for ministry
  • If the Lord can protect and provide for His beloved Israel in that terrible desert, what more can He do for us in our own time and place?
    • Our culture today is an aberration. His church has seen hard times and God’s apparent influenced in the affairs of men is hardly noticed. Society is seeking its own godless level and we observe and wonder what is happening. Today, we have real reason to become discouraged with our secular cities, our moral decay and our fallen situation. Remember, our hope is in the Lord.

Items for Discussion in I Corinthians 12:25

  • Some people in the Church of Corinth felt inferior, some felt independent, some felt in conspicuous—why do you think this happens in a church and what can the congregation do about it?
    • When a church does not emphasized that the body is not made up of one part but of many and starts rank ordering roles, we have a problem. Paul has a foot talking to a hand and an ear talking to an eye, complaining that they are not part of the body because they’re not the same to prove his point.
    • Some among them felt self-sufficient. They didn’t need anyone else. This is the “me and Jesus” crowd. And just as there were some in that day, there are still Christians today who think they can get along just fine without others.
    • here are people who think that since their sins have been forgiven, their home in heaven secured, they are free to do their own thing. They need no church home. They need no accountability.
    • Some may have felt unnoticed, or unseen. This is such an easy trap to fall into. There is so much to do that is behind the scenes, invisible to many, yet essential to all.
    • It is like that in the human body as well. There are certainly parts we see. There are prominent parts that stand out. And there are parts that we cover up out of modesty, as well as parts we decorate to make them look better. But of all the bodily parts we have, those parts that are unseen by the human eye are the most important parts we have. A hand is a very visible part. It is quite important but I could live without it. A heart is a part that is unseen. It is not only important, it is essential as you could not live without it.

 

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
Share