A Great Victory Parade
(21) Surely God will strike the head of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who continually walks in his guilty ways. (22) The Lord said, “I will bring them back from Bashan. I will bring them back from the depths of the sea, (23) so that they might strike their feet in their blood that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the enemies.” (24) Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary, (25) the singers in front, the instrumentalists behind, and in the middle the maidens playing tambourines. (26) Praise God in the great congregation! (Praise) Yahweh, the fountain of Israel! (27) There (is) Benjamin, the youngest, in the lead, the princes of Judah and their throng, the princes of Zebulon, the princes of Naphtali.
Four repetitions help us grasp the message of this segment of the psalm. Two words in the first verse are repeated in the third, “strike” and “enemies” (vss. 21 & 23). Twice the Lord declares, “I will bring them back” (vs. 22). Was he speaking of bringing back Israel for blessing or bringing back his enemies for judgment? In the context, it is probably better to understand this as referring to Israel’s foes who cannot escape from God’s wrath no matter how far they try to flee. Finally, the word, “procession,” is twice mentioned (vs. 24). Because Yahweh gave Israel a great victory over her enemies, his greatness will be celebrated in an exuberant triumphal procession (vss. 25-27).
I. The triumphant power of God (21-23)
II. The triumphal procession of God (24-27)
After the defeat of her enemies, Israel celebrates Yahweh’s great victory with a glorious triumphal procession.
It had been 25 years since any sports team in my hometown of Philadelphia had won a championship. In the fall of 2008, when the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, the city went crazy. On the Friday following the final victory, two million people turned out to line the four miles of Broad Street, the main north/south artery that divides the city, for a victory parade. Many thousands more never made it into the city because public transportation could not handle the crowds and cars had nowhere to drive or park.
If a mere sports triumph can be celebrated with such overwhelming joy, how much more will God’s covenant nation celebrate his victory over their enemies! The city of Zion had witnessed all too few triumphs in the era called the “divided monarchy” following David’s and Solomon’s golden years. Since the Babylonian exile, there has never been such a celebration of God’s triumph with the exception of Christ’s triumphal procession into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. However, the limited excitement of that brief moment was soon swallowed up by the events leading to his crucifixion. The real victory parade will not take place until a future day when Christ returns to the earth in triumph and establishes his millennial reign over the nations of the world. Read again the last four verses of Psalm 68 with that future event in mind. Try to imagine what it will be like to participate in the greatest celebration this world has ever seen as the Lamb whose victory will be acclaimed joins his bride in triumph and is cheered by countless multitudes (Rev. 19:1-9).