Do me a favor and please read Psalm 68.
This is a song of praise and worship that is meant as encouragement. But what’s really beautiful is that this encouraging psalm is felt, seen, and given. And what I mean is that you get this feeling that the author had a bullhorn and was rousing up the worshippers to see, feel, and let loose in their worship of God. I picture them standing on an extremely high platform and seeing this parade of worship coming down the street and as they see people coming they are simply getting more excited because they see different tribes and people coming down this extremely long procession of worship. And so as they see all of this their emotions raise, their voices kick up a notch in volume and octave and they simply are at awe. Picture the Thanksgiving Day Macy’s Parade with the hosts who have cameras all over and are able to watch, share, encourage, and find joy….but not on Thanksgiving, or with Macy’s… or in New York for that matter. Wow. Horrible analogy!
Here’s what we know. If we believe the superscript (those few words after the title of the psalm that say, “For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.” then this could be a song after a victory, on the way to war/battle, or some other massive processional that would bring all the people together (maybe even the ark being returned). It’s simply really hard to have a historical setting when we aren’t given much…so scholars are kind of all over the place on placing this processional within a specific context. But a praise it is. A song of encouragement it shouts. The actions of God throughout time and history it speaks of…and a declaration to all the kingdoms of earth to sing of God’s praises it gives.
As I type this I keep coming back to wanting to see this and experience this…today – and yet there has never been anything like this that I have ever seen. I’ve seen plenty of parades, I’ve watched plenty of them on TV (my sister is still slightly obsessed with the Macy’s Day parade) and I’ve even been in quite a few small ones in Jr and Sr high as well as a big one my Freshman year of college (I was in the Rose Bowl Parade) and while the Rose Bowl parade would begin to get that feeling that David experienced and praised of – it’s still not the same. Ours celebrated people, events, businesses, college football teams and lots of lots of money. This one, the one David speaks of, celebrates God.
Can you imagine being in a massive processional that simply celebrated God? I imagine it would be like a worship service that was simply never-ending and not all in one building…and yet the whole experience would be of you (as well as everyone else) allowing the shackles of shame and pain and your personal struggles of caring what others thought of you while you worshipped…all of those were set free. What an amazing, invigorating, tear-ful and freeing parade of worship that would be! I’m getting excited just thinking about it! And yet…I know that I will have to wait. We will have to wait until the entrance of the King. Wait until Christ comes again to reign in his “heaven on earth” and establish his final reign over all things here on earth. When that happens and all will be placed under his foot – the parade will start. The people will sing. Kingdoms and nations will gather in one place from every tribe, tongue, and nations.
Will there be giant helium balloon characters? Maybe. Not sure what they would be because seeing Snoopy would be kind of awkward… but you never know. I picture church musicians and worship leaders playing and marching and singing songs of joy, hope, and gladness. Songs of Christmas, Easter, Advent, Pentecost and all liturgical times of the year in-between.
A processional of joy and hope that draws in, lifts up, and gathers in. Is there any other thing on God’s green earth that sounds more appealing and joyful? It WILL be the greatest thing that ever happened in history. And why? Because God is the father of the fatherless and defender of widows (vs 5). Because God gathers in the lonely into families and sets the prisoners free WITH SINGING (vs 6). Because God watches over his people and land and gathers them in with his outstretched hands. And if we needed anything else to praise him about – he is our Savior.
Yes…praise be to God!