Most of us have a number of different roles or titles by which we are known. I have been called a husband, father, son, uncle, professor, and a hapless Detroit Lions fan. Each of those titles gives a little understanding about part of my life. Today’s reading gives insight into who God is by describing His unique characteristics. A majestic and powerful hymn, Psalm 68 begins by celebrating God’s power. The psalmist describes God’s care for Israel in the wilderness (vv. 7–10), His defeat of Israel’s enemies (vv. 12, 18), and His residence on Mt. Zion (vv. 15–18).
There are many titles used to describe God in this psalm. He is described as the one “who rides on the clouds” (v. 4). This was a title Canaanites used for their storm god, Baal. Here David uses the title for Israel’s God. It’s his way of saying that the Lord is the true God, not Baal. The Lord is described as “a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows” (v. 5). It is important to recognize that God uses His power to help and protect the most vulnerable in society. For many today who do not have a father figure or parent in their life, this verse is a precious reminder of God’s care.
God is also called “the One of Sinai” (v. 8). God revealed Himself to Israel through the giving of the Law. Our God is one who communicates with His people. The Lord is “our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (v. 19) and a “God who saves” (v. 20). This is most vividly seen and fulfilled in Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension. All these names are reasons to sing praise to the Lord (v. 32)!
>> Psalm 68 celebrates both God’s transcendent power and His fatherly care for each person. Thank the Lord today that both of these aspects of God are true. We can also look forward to the day when we will experience God’s presence in person (Rev. 21:3).
If you’ve ever lost a parent or a spouse, may these words from Psalm 68 comfort you: “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (v.5). You are not alone. Praise His holy name!