Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts,
Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him.
– Psalm 68:4
A new year usually begins with hope and promise set against the backdrop of winter.
My new year began in the heat of a blistering emotional desert. People I love are in pain, and their torment has scorched my soul. Day after weary day has stretched on with no relief in sight and only endless wilderness before us. Hope has slowly soured in my belly as my desperate prayers are met with silence. Waves of fear wash over me in the night as I frantically seek God before falling into a fitful sleep.
In the gray dawn of another day, I am spent. I can pray no more. There are no more words I can say, no entreaty with which to reach my Master. As the night shadows fade before the rising sun, I arise and pad heavily into the breakfast nook with a cup of coffee. There I open my Bible.
In the space between darkness and light, I need to hear His voice.
This morning I find Psalm 68, a powerful image of a God who does not sit impartially in the heavens glaring down at his frail creation. Here, I find a God who rides through the desert as conqueror. Once again, I am reminded no pit is too deep for Him, no problem too hard for Him, no trial too hot for Him.
O God, when You went forth before Your people,
When You marched through the wilderness,
The earth quaked;
The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God.
– Psalm 68:7-8
Throughout this song of David, God addresses every situation of our lives that makes us feel lost and in need of a savior. He reminds us He is a father to the fatherless, an advocate for the widows, a home for the lonely, a deliverer for those in any kind of bondage, and a provider to the poor.
Through the wilderness He marches as the victor. Before His majesty the earth quakes and the armies of hell flee. In His presence the heavens open, and life-giving rain quenches our barrenness. In our worst of times, He reminds us of His promises.
You confirmed your inheritance when it was parched.
– Psalm 68:9
Fearsome as He is to His enemies, the King comes to His sheepfold as a precious and pure dove, a gentle Shepherd and Comforter to His people.
When You lie down among the sheepfolds,
You are like the wings of a dove covered with silver,
And its pinions with glistening gold.
– Psalm 68:13
Once again, I am in awe.
Victory doesn’t come because we tough out trial. It doesn’t come because we pray the right prayers, sing the right songs, or attend the right church. We are saved because we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, Ruler of heaven and earth.
Dawn is rising.