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Psalm 68:4-6 "He rides through the deserts"

“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! Father of the fatherless and protector of the widows is God in His holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” (Psalm 68:4-6)

When we looked at Psalm 68: 1-4 we observed the first three words in verse one, “God shall arise”. We noted that it is exciting to consider that God Himself arises to work salvation for the righteous (v.3,19-20). In this psalm we see that God can act in many ways: He acts personally (v.1), he speaks powerfully (v.11,33) and He also has a mighty Host at His command (v.17).

As we look at verses 4-6 we find a continuation of the personal nature of God’s saving acts towards the righteous. We see this in the five following ways: He rides through the deserts, He is a Father to the fatherless, a protector of widows, He settles the solitary in a home and He leads the prisoners to prosperity. Because of all of this the psalmist says, “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; lift up a song to Him; His name is the LORD; exult before Him.” (V.4)

All of this grace towards the righteous is contrasted with the rebellious who will dwell in a parched land. This parched land is contrasted even more in verses 7-10 when the psalmist says, “O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. Rain in abundance, O God, You shed abroad; you restored Your inheritance as it languished; Your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.”

Out of His heavenly habitation He comes and treads among men in desert places. Far from the garden where He once walked with Adam and Eve, He now rides through the deserts bringing with Him many blessings to the righteous: adoption (5), a home (6), freedom and prosperity (6), restoration (9), provision (10).

To the prisoners He gives prosperity. To those languishing He restores. To the needy He grants provision (6,9,10). It is so encouraging to see these things in scripture. It would seemingly be enough to receive refreshment, freedom and cancellation of our debts. But God always does so much more. He restores, prospers and supplies. The next time that I am prone to think that sins effects are to forever define me, I should quickly recall such verses to mind.

Consider the words, “who rides upon the deserts” (v.4). There is another section of this psalm that is very similar to this one near the end. Verse 32-33 says, “O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, to Him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, He sends out his voice, His mighty voice.”

These words remind us that God has indeed come and tread upon the earth. Jesus, the Son of God, came and walked in desolate places and brought refreshment to the people (Luke 4:42). His voice was heard preaching the good news to all the people in all the villages. And after He was crucified He rose from the dead and now is seated victoriously in the heavens, the ancient heavens. His life and His powerful voice now intercedes for the elect and calls dead things to life.

I am grateful for the fact that Jesus came down to walk among men. And I am grateful for the Holy Spirit who now has been sent to lead, restore and refresh us in Christ. There is really only one response to all of this – praise, worship and exultation.

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