Psalm 68 says much about God's majesty and power to deliver Israel from enemies and to provide for them in difficult situations. Our focus in this lesson will be Psalm 68:4-6 where we see God tenderly caring for those who are orphans, widows, or otherwise are basically alone. God also delivers those who are in bondage and oppression. At the same time, wicked and rebellious people will suffer consequences in which they lack God's blessings. In simple terms, God takes up the cause of the underdog and settles the score with the rebellious.
In many situations, it does not seem like this is the case. We can observe people who are suffering greatly, while the wicked seem to prosper. Please study Psalm 37 and 73 for help with this dilemma.
Israel often failed to notice God's goodness and grace. They failed to praise and sing with rejoicing before the LORD (Psalm 68:4 "JAH" = "Jehovah"). Often, they would experience "dryness" in their lives because of their rebellion and lack of appreciation (Psalm 68:6 cp. 106:1-48). The people who claim to be God's people today often do the same thing. They mumble and complain through life and fail to see the goodness and mercy of God. They fail to worship God in spirit and in truth (Psalm 100:1-5; 107:1-43; John 4:23-24).
Let's notice five things about God in Psalm 68:5-6.
- God is a father to the fatherless.
- God is a judge / deliverer to the widow.
- God creates a family environment for His people.
- God liberates those who are in chains.
- God lets the rebellious experience dryness.
"A father of the fatherless… a judge of the widows …" Throughout Scripture we can see that God cares for the needy (Leviticus 19:9-18,33-34). Orphans and widows are a special concern to Him (James 1:27). Notice that God's care for orphans and widows is described as an attribute of God "in His holy habitation." We tend to think of God as having heavenly, cosmic business and that our earthly domestic problems are mundane to Him. Rather, God clearly focuses on our minds, hearts, and lives as a great concern to Him (Psalm 113:4-9). He who commanded us to love Him with all our heart, soul, might, and mind loves us in like manner.
See Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Matthew 22:35-37 cp. Romans 5:5-8; 8:35-39; I Peter 5:7; I John 3:16; 4:7-19).
"God sets the solitary in families …" Many people are suffering in their family and marital life. Many are feeling the effects of being neglected or abused by society in general. But even if they are having wonderful experiences socially, the greatest experience is to become a member of God's forever family. Comfort, a sense of belonging, and a sense of direction / purpose is provided for those who come to God in faith and repentance through Jesus Christ, His Son.
See John 1:10-13; 10:9-16,27-29; 13:34-35; 23:8; Ephesians 1:3-7; 2:11-19; 3:14-15.
"He brings out those which are bound with chains …" While many people suffer man-made chains and bondage, there is a liberty that God gives that no man can give or take away. It is freedom from sin, which takes away the control of fear, hatred, pride, lust and all the addictions that have held us in bondage, preventing us from knowing, loving and serving God.
See John 8:30-36; Romans 6:6-23; Ephesians 2:1-10.
"The rebellious dwell in a dry land." For so many people, this life is like a "dry land." There is no lasting pleasure and nothing to look forward to. Everything is frustrating and disappointing. What is the purpose in life? Some understand that "The chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Unfortunately, many people wrinkle up their noses at that statement. To deny God the worship and service that He deserves is to be one of the "rebellious." God will leave them to their own devices. They will get what they want (a godless life in a godless world) until they can't stand it and cry out to God for deliverance from a vain life and a ruinous eternity.
See Amos 8:11; Psalm 63:1; Isaiah 55:1-13; I John 2:15-17; John 6:27-29; Romans 1:16-32; 10:9-13; 8:18; Galatians 1:3-5; John 7:37-39; Revelation 22:17 cp. Jeremiah 2:13.
A word to earthly fathers: As we learn of God, as a good and perfect father, we are reminded of the privilege and responsibility to be like God to our families. Love, friendship, attention, guidance, protection, and provision should keep our children from feeling like orphans and our wives from feeling like widows. This year's Father's Day gift is a stapler and a staple remover. This is to remind us that we are to bring people together for safety, fellowship, and serving. Hence, the stapler. Conversely, we are to protect our families from bad associations and remove them from evil influences. Hence, the staple remover. May God help us to promote a godly family life that is like living in a well-watered land.
See Psalm 128 cp. Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 5:25; 6:4.