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  THE GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS PSALM 68:1-10: “But let the [uncompromisingly] righteous be glad; let them be in high spirits and glory before God, yes, let them [jubilantly] rejoice!” (v3)

Are you an uncompromisingly righteous person? If you are, and that is what all true children of God should try to be, the word of God said no matter the situation just as it will soon be with the people of Biafra land that you should be glad and in high spirit glorying before the Lord God and rejoicing jubilantly because you know that your enemies will soon be scattered because the Lord your God has arisen for His people! Last week we made reference to when the psychiatrist, Dr James Fisher: was searching for the positive attitudes that make for good stability and mental health, stumbled by accident on the Beatitudes of the Lord God and realized he need search no longer as it already exists as given by the Lord. Listen in his conclusion after close to 50 years’ experience of working with people with mental and emotional (soul) problems: ‘If you were to take the total sum of all authoritative articles ever written by the most qualified of psychologists, philosophers and psychiatrists on the subject of mental hygiene in the entire world–if you were to combine them and refine them and cleave out the excessive verbiage (excessively lengthy or technical speech or writing) in them–if you were to take the whole of the meat (useful portions of those articles) and none of the parsley (garnishing or seasoning to make the articles interesting), and if you were to have these unadulterated bits of pure scientific knowledge concisely expressed and compressed by the most capable of living poets. You would have an awkward and incomplete summation of our Lord’s Beatitudes –and it would suffer immeasurably through comparison.’ In other words you will find out that none of these manmade articles is as rich, complete and comprehensive as the Lord Jesus Beatitude given to us on the Mount! But yet we waste all our time studying and taking to memory these useless articles in place of the Lord’s Beatitude that should be a part of us. Earlier I commented that our attitudes determine our altitude that is–how high we rise in the spiritual stratosphere or the very highest levels of spiritual attainment. A similar point is expressed in the following lines: As man’s created spirit Up the ladder: God –ward mounts He finds it isn’t altitude But attitude that counts. There can be no doubt that the Beatitudes are the gateway to spiritual growth, health and happiness. As you enter into these devotions, may these ‘Be- attitudes’, with the help of the Spirit of God, become part of your daily thinking and daily living. Allow your life to be transformed or changed by the Beatitude because you cannot achieve life goals the way the Lord God ordained it with a defective attitude rendered you by worldliness and carnal living, this is the secret many people do not yet know which is why people keep wondering why in spite of all their life’s struggles and efforts there are no significant achievements to show for their labour. A sincere change or transformation of our entire carnal or worldly defected or affected attitude is needful this is why the Lord God spent a whole time teaching on this topic, so it is left for us in turn to also spend a whole time in learning and imbibing it for our good.

  Christ Leads The Way Psalms 68:1-10; 18-20:

This is a most excellent psalm that sheds light on the phrase ‘Christ leads the way’, but in many places the genuine sense is not easily grasped or easy to come by its comprehension as it is in this psalm, as in some other Scriptures, there are things dark and very shrouded to be understood in the Bible. It does not appear when, or upon what occasion, David penned this psalm but probably it was penned when, God having given king David rest from all his enemies, troubles and worries round about, he brought the Ark (which was both the token of God’s presence and a type of Christ’s meditation in the midst of His people) from the house of Obed-edom to the tent he had pitched for it in Zion, for the first words David used in this psalm are the prayer which Moses used at the removing of the Ark as seen in Numbers 10:35 which reads, “35 Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.” From this psalm we can see that David is led, by the Spirit of prophecy, to speak glorious things concerning the Messiah Lord Jesus Christ even many years ago before His first advent concerning, His ascension into heaven, and the setting up of His kingdom in the world. Has anybody paused a little to think of the setting up of this God’s kingdom on earth, could it be what He has started by the return of the Jews of Jerusalem that started many years ago and is still ongoing and is part of it that this actualization of the Republic of Biafra where the Jews of Africa, Ndi Igbo as extended as they are all about; that evil is fighting seriously not to be and is it why the master evil spirit (darkness) and its British-Fulani is fighting tooth and nail to see if he can make it not be just as the whole world tried to abolish Israel and failed? Always think about it! Obed-edom is a biblical name which in Hebrew means “servant of Edom,” and which appears in the books of 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Chronicles but first mentioned after the death of Uzzah in whose house the Philistines kept the Ark for touching the Ark of God which happened during King David’s first tenor. Obed-edom is an illustration of the service rendered to Hebrew religion by foreigner, reminding us of the service of Simon of Cyrene who helped the Lord Jesus in carrying His cross. Obed-edom was a Levite, which is why he kept the Ark of God in his house when the Philistines returned it forcefully as it was inflicting various illnesses on them, and David ensured the Ark was within the priesthood. Obed-edom proved a faithful steward of the Ark in his house so much so that in 90 days, God fell in love with him and blessed him and his household until his curiosity made him to touch it. Edom was an ancient kingdom located between Moab and Arabian desert with most of its former territory now divided between Israel and Jordan. Edom means “red” which is why it is related to Esau Patriarch Isaac’s son whose brother is Jacob because Esau was born ‘red all over’ and he is the father of the Edomite descendants. Esau’s descendants are said to be the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king ever reigned as seen in Genesis thirty six. In giving a brief summary for the passage, the writer begins with: 1. He begins with prayer, both against God’s enemies as seen in Psalms 68: 1, 2 and for his people as seen in Psalms 68:3 2. He proceeds to praise, which takes up the rest of the psalm, calling upon all to praise God as seen in Psalms 68: 4, 26, 32 and suggesting many things as to matters for which praises are required: a) The greatness and goodness of God as seen in Psalms 68:4-6 b) The wonderful works God had wrought for His people formerly, bringing them through the wilderness as seen in Psalms 68:7-8, setting them in Canaan as seen in Psalms 68:9-10, giving them victory over their enemies as seen in Psalms 68:11-12, and delivering them out of the hands of their oppressors, as seen in Psalms 68:13-14. As we read all of these, does it give us a modality enabling us to identify the areas where we are not following properly hence we are not getting results as we ought to, do we praise God, especially in our private time? c) The special presence of God in His church as seen in Psalms 68:15-17. d) The ascension of Christ as seen in Psalms 68:18 and the salvation of His people by Him as seen in Psalms 68:19-20. e) The victories which Christ would obtain over His enemies, and the favours He would bestow upon His church as seen in Psalms 68:21-28. f) The development of the church by the accession of the Gentiles to it as seen in Psalms 68:29-31. And so he concludes the psalm with an acknowledgment of the glory and grace of God as seen in Psalms 68:32-35. With all these great things we should endeavour to be duly affected in singing this psalm. Now can you appreciate this psalm written many years before the birth of the Author of the gospel Lord Jesus Christ and see in it how the psalmist has used his psalm to virtually summarise the whole Scripture and the gospel in particular through this one singular psalm making it known that the psalm is a prophecy. Let us begin by reading Psalm 68:1-10; 18-20: 1 GOD IS [already] beginning to arise, and His enemies to scatter; let them also who hate Him flee before Him! 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before the presence of God. 3 But let the [uncompromisingly] righteous be glad; let them be in high spirits and glory before God, yes, let them [jubilantly] rejoice! 4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name, cast up a highway for Him Who rides through the deserts–His name is the Lord–be in high spirits and glory before Him! 5 A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows is God in His holy habitation. 6 God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. 7 O God, when You went forth before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness–Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!– 8 The earth trembled, the heavens also poured down [rain] at the presence of God; yonder Sinai quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel. 9 You, O God, did send a plentiful rain; You did restore and confirm Your heritage when it languished and was weary. 10 Your flock found a dwelling place in it; You, O God, in Your goodness did provide for the poor and needy. 18 You have ascended on high. You have led away captive a train of vanquished foes; You have received gifts of men, yes, of the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell there with them. [Eph. 4:8.] 19 Blessed be the Lord, Who bears our burdens and carries us day by day, even the God Who is our salvation! Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! 20 God is to us a God of deliverances and salvation; and to God the Lord belongs escape from death [setting us free].”

  INTRODUCTION:

Psalm 68 is a Psalm that describes how God’s Presence results to triumph and victory for Him and His people. It is a Psalm that military leaders have quoted in the past after final victory over an enemy. It is the Psalm that was in the mind of many after Lord Jesus’ final victory on the cross and after His resurrection. The ascension of Lord Jesus Christ forty days after His resurrection was as it were a victory lap or a crowning of glory. A triumphant King leads the way home after the war is won. This Psalm will be our final look into the prophetic nature of the Psalms and how through David and others, the Holy Spirit was working to teach about the coming Saviour Jesus Christ through these psalms. 1. Jesus Christ Scatters the Enemy (Ps. 68:1-4): 1 GOD IS [already] beginning to arise, and His enemies to scatter; let them also who hate Him flee before Him! 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before the presence of God. 3 But let the [uncompromisingly] righteous be glad; let them be in high spirits and glory before God, yes, let them [jubilantly] rejoice! 4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name, cast up a highway for Him Who rides through the deserts–His name is the Lord–be in high spirits and glory before Him! Do you hear that: sometimes our inability to apply the Scripture implicitly as we ought is the reason why we are not getting results as we ought to “Arise Oh God and let the enemy be scattered...” If we’re to understand this text we must go back through the centuries to the time of Moses in the wilderness. Moses had a saying that he quoted every time they moved to a different location which is in Numbers below: Numbers 10:35-36 “35Whenever the ark set out, Moses said, Rise up, Lord; let Your enemies be scattered; and let those who hate You flee before You. [Ps. 68:1, 2.] 36And when it rested, he said, Return, O Lord, to the ten thousand thousands in Israel.” Are we praying this prayer, asking the Lord God to ‘arise’ so that our enemies be scattered? As the Ark of the Covenant moved out, God’s presence went before the Hebrews and their enemies were scattered. God was scattering His physical enemies during the time of Moses and the wilderness. The picture is as if the ark was moving through a crowd or multitude of enemies and they were being scattered out of the way. Enemies were being levelled like bowling pins when a strike is rolled. God’s people were following close behind and were protected as they moved through this large crowd of enemies. We see these words fulfilled during the time of Moses. Then, David quotes them as they were true in his day as well. Today how many leaders or even people know it not to talk of quoting it when they want the Lord God to rise and have their enemies scattered! If you can get yourself qualified through holiness, righteousness and the right attitude, try quoting this psalm and see what it will do for you! [Ps. 68 V2] “As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before the presence of God.” Just as easy as wind can blow smoke away so God scatters His enemies. Just like wax melts and runs away when it’s held to the fire so God’s enemies are driven away by the heat of God’s powerful presence. Make efforts to qualify yourself for God’s presence to always be round about you to scatter your enemies. Just as the Ark moved through and mowed down the enemies of God so Jesus Christ, the true Ark of God defeated all His enemies. Lord Jesus’ enemies were not physical enemies such as opposing armies or nations. His enemies were in the Spiritual realm. Satan and his forces or agencies were no match for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords Jesus Christ. Sin, death and the grave were scattered as Lord Jesus blew them away through the victory that was His on the cross. In like manner our victory is assured if we allow Christ presence in our life by living sinless, holy, and righteous with good attitude as given us in the Beatitude. Just like the Ark cleared the way for the Hebrews, so Lord Jesus Christ clears the way for us when we allow His Presence to be with us. His Power and Might scatter the enemy. Our enemy is His enemy. He has led the way; individually we should allow Him to lead the way. He is our Captain who is on the front line pushing back our enemies so we can share in His victory. But our worldly and carnal life style often does not allow Christ presence in our life. 2. Lord Jesus Clears the Way to Heaven (Ps. 68:18-20): “18 You have ascended on high. You have led away captive a train of vanquished foes; You have received gifts of men, yes, of the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell there with them. [Eph. 4:8.] 19 Blessed be the Lord, Who bears our burdens and carries us day by day, even the God Who is our salvation! Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! 20 God is to us a God of deliverances and salvation; and to God the Lord belongs escape from death [setting us free].” Ephesians 4:8 reads, “8 Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of [a]vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.” In summarizing this verse it means that He (God) conquered those who had conquered us—such as sin, the devil, and death. Do you allow God to bear your burdens and carry you day by day? He leads us in conquering sin as He lived a perfect and sinless life. Lord Jesus taught us holiness, righteousness and good attitude and appealed to us that if we can emulate Him and live our lives on earth based on these three things-holiness, righteousness and good attitude, not only will our enemy scatter that we will overcome sin, He said that we will also conquer death just as He conquered death and we will be enabled to be with Him in paradise! His perfection will be ours some day. He entered the tomb at death and rose victoriously overcoming death and the grave. As our Captain, He has scattered death, our greatest foe. Now we too can have victory over death, not by defeating this enemy but because we are following our Captain. Lord Jesus has freed His people from these great enemies. He has also led the way to heaven. He shows us the way and He is currently seated in heaven waiting for the time when the Father will nod His head and signal to the Son to go and get them. Lead them to their heavenly home. Rise O Lord and have Your glorious day. Retrieve Your servants and bring them home: is the divine command all of us are waiting for, and the time is very close. 3. Following Lord Jesus (Ephesians 4:7-11): The fact that Lord Jesus has led His people into new and wonderful things is found in many places in the Bible. His sinless life is a picture of the lives we will live in heaven. He is the first fruit of those who will rise from the grave. He ascended into heaven and we too will ascend into heaven at death. In order to receive these great blessings of the Saviour, we must be following Him. Again, the picture is He leads and overpowers the enemies and we fall in place right behind Him and are safe. Following Lord Jesus is vital for us. In teaching us on proper Christian conduct, the Apostle Paul makes a very important connection for us. He quotes from Psalm sixty eight to explain why we must be following hard after Christ in Ephesians 4:7-11. Ephes. 4:7-11 says: “7 Yet grace (God's unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ's [rich and bounteous] gift. 8 Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men. [Ps. 68:18.] 9 [But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth? 10 He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest). 11 And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.” Here in Eph. 4:7-11 the Apostle Paul quotes from Psalm 68 showing that it is Christ Jesus, His coming as a Messiah or Saviour, what His Ministry will be all about in the divine overall plan of the Lord God, His being persecuted and eventually killed, His death, burial, resurrection and ascension is all that David wrote about in His psalms and in this psalm 68 in particular. Jesus Christ has led captivity captive and scattered the enemy so except you allow it in your life, there is nothing that can hold you captive any more, even death can’t. It is Christ that leads His people and it is Christ that gives gifts to His people for the purpose of following Him and helping others follow Him. His logic flows like this: Jesus Christ has led the way to heaven through the ascension. He has cut a path through hostile forces to make a way for us to follow. Because our enemies are not physical but spiritual, doing battle and following Christ look a little different in the spiritual realm. In chapter 4-6 of Ephesians Paul discusses how we are to follow Christ by saying “walk in this manner”. And the manner you should walk in are; Walk in unity especially of mind, walk in holiness, walk in righteousness, walk in love, walk in the light especially as He is the light, walk in wisdom. He’s really saying, walk like Lord Jesus Christ and follow very closely behind Him because it is only in Him that you get the fullness of the entire Walk. By walking or living as Christ lived we will be safe from spiritual and physical enemies no matter how hard they may try. Paul also discusses the fact that it is Christ, our Captain, who distributes gifts for service. These gifts are not to be selfishly kept for your benefits but to be shared in service to others. If you want to follow Christ, walk as He walked and use your spiritual gifts as He did. We must ask ourselves, Am I following hard after Christ by living in obedience and by sharing my grace gift with others? Are others being encouraged to follow Christ as they watch me live and watch me use the gifts Christ has given me? Christ’s ascension into heaven foreshadows our ascension into heaven to be with Him. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “13 Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [[a]in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave]. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep [[b]in death]. 15 For this we declare to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede [into His presence] or have any advantage at all over those who have previously fallen asleep [in Him [c]in death]. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord! 18 Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” The call today for us is to not fight physical battles with God’s enemies, God is a spirit and He fights His enemies in the spirit realm, any attempt to fight God’s enemies physically will fail. How do we identify God’s enemies? A close look on the issues and things that is happening in Nigeria and in Biafra land will give you a clue as to know who God’s enemies are. So Burning Qurans is not the type of battle God would have us fight, even though if the enemy decides to come physical and we have our way we should defend ourselves physically the best we can. Fight the spiritual battle first by obeying Christ commands and using your gift in the church. When you do this you will be following Christ very hard and encouraging others to follow Him hard as well. Here in the book of Thessalonians we are instructed concerning death, which we are not to be afraid of as it approaches if really we are sure of our stand in Christ because it marks the end of our physical existence and ushers us into the beginning of our spiritual existence which we are being prepared for in following Christ so that where Christ is there too we shall be. The process that will bring about this spiritual transformative phenomenon which is being described as meeting the Lord Jesus Christ in the AIR is still a mystery, a divine spiritual mystery which only the Lord God Almighty Who knows how He is going to bring it about at His appointed time in His second advent so boarder not yourself about or with it, only make sure you are doing all what the Lord wants you to do as divine self spiritual preparation so that at that time the phenomenon itself will occur irrespective of what man calls it, it will spiritually carry you along irrespective of where you are in the universe because you have spiritually qualified yourself as commanded by the Lord God. This is the truth! But bear in mind that the Lord God has promised the setting up of His kingdom here on earth which is why He asked us to pray “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” so when you think of the meeting with the Lord Jesus in air and thy kingdom come on earth, thy will be done on earth, you see it is surely a mystery which only the Lord God can bring about.

  Conclusion:

In these verses of his psalm king David prays that God would appear in His glory: 1. To confuse His enemies as seen in Psalms 68:1, 2 which reads “1 God is [already] beginning to arise, and His enemies to scatter; let them also who hate Him flee before Him! 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before the presence of God.” Thus does David comment upon Moses’s prayer, and not only repeat it with application to himself and his own times, but enlarge upon it, to direct us on how to make use of the Scripture-prayers as it applies to us in our own similar situations just as we are currently having in the British-Fulani saga of our conquest and enslavement. It goes further, to the Redeemer’s victory over the enemies of His kingdom-the universe, for He was the angel of the covenant, that guided Israel through the wilderness out of their slavery in Egypt just like today we in Biafra land apparently are in the British-Fulani enslavement and we seriously need this prayer for the Lord God to be merciful unto us and to arise Oh Lord and let our enemies be scattered! Note, a) There are, and have been, and ever will be, such enemies to God and hate to him (enemy of God), who join in with the old serpent against the actualization of the kingdom of God among men and against the seed of the woman. b) They are wicked and evil, and none but wicked, that are enemies to God, the children of the wicked and evil one. So no matter how the British-Fulani ally pretend with all their deceitful manoeuvres and bribery, the children of God have got to be at their wit ends and at alert always ready to defend themselves with Christ as the Leader in this war of conquest because the enemy will not rest! c) Though we are to pray for our enemies as such, yet we are to pray against God’s enemies as such, against their enmity to Him and all their evil attempts and attacks on His kingdom come. d) If God will arise, all His impenitent and implacable enemies, that will not repent to give Him glory, will certainly and speedily be scattered, and driven away, and made to perish at His presence for none ever hardened his heart against God and prospered. The day of judgment will be the day of the complete and final perdition (punishment and damnation) of ungodly men as seen in 2 Peter3:7 which reads “7But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been stored up (reserved) for fire, being kept until the day of judgement and destruction of the ungodly people”, and compare the above Peter’s with how it is given in David’s psalm 68:2 saying, “2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before the presence of God”, also as seen in 2 Thessalonians 1: 8 which reads “8To deal out retribution (chastisement and vengeance) upon those who do not know or perceive or become acquainted with God, and [upon those] who ignore and refuse to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” From the above, when you consider what happened in the world in which the Jews were killed and scattered all over the universe and compare it with what is happening in Nigeria and in Biafra land with Ndi Igbo the Jews of Africa you call to mind that this is surely a spiritual affair; and as such it means somehow God is involved and many people seem not to understand it and as the Lord God is involved in it the whole world including Britain/allies and the Fulani are going to be shocked and marvel as to how the Lord God is going to arise and all His enemies will be scattered! 2. For the comfort and joy of His own people as seen in Psalms 68:3 which reads, “3 But let the [uncompromisingly] righteous be glad; let them be in high spirits and glory before God, yes, let them [jubilantly] rejoice!” Note: i) Those who rejoice in God have reason to rejoice with exceeding joy and this joy we ought to wish to all the saints, for it belongs to them. Light is sown for the righteous. ii) He praises God for His glorious appearances, and calls upon us to praise Him, to sing to His name, and extol Him. a) As a great God, infinitely great as seen in Psalms 68:4 which reads, “4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name, cast up a highway for Him Who rides through the deserts—His name is the Lord—be in high spirits and glory before Him!” b) As a gracious God, a God of mercy and tender compassion. He is great, but He despises not any, no, not the meanest nay, being God, of a great power, He uses His power for the relief of those that are distressed as seen in Psalms 68:5-6 which reads “5 A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows is God in His holy habitation. 6 God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” iii) As a righteous God, a) In relieving the oppressed. He brings out those that are bound with chains, and sets those at liberty who are unjustly imprisoned and brought into servitude in a parched (dried with heat) land. b) In reckoning with oppressors: The rebellious dwell in dry land and have no comfort in that which they have got by fraud and injury. The best land will be a dry land to those that by their rebellion have forfeited the blessing of God, which is the juice and fatness of all our enjoyments. The Israelites were brought out of Egypt into the wilderness, but they were there better provided for than the Egyptians themselves, whose land, if Nilus (a Greek god, a son of Oceanus and Tethys, the god of the Nile River; Nile, the river, known as Nilus in Latin) failed them, as it sometimes did, was a dry land. Today Britain/allies and Fulani are all enjoying from the milk and honey that comes from the land that flows with milk and honey and because of their fear of a possible dwelling in a parched land on their exit they do not want to let go just as Pharaoh had not wanted to let God’s people go. 3. That God Himself was the guide of Israel through the wilderness when He had brought them out of their chains, He did not leave them in the dry land, but He Himself went before them in a march through the wilderness as seen in Psalms 68:7 which reads, “7 O God, when You went forth before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness—Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!—“. Note, i. If God briing His people into a wilderness, He will be sure to go before them in it and bring them out of it as seen in Song of Solomon 8:5 which reads “5 Who is this who comes up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved? [And as they sighted the home of her childhood, the bride said] Under the apple tree I awakened you; there your mother gave you birth, there she was in travail and bore you”. That He manifested His glorious presence with them on Mount Sinai as seen in Psalms 68:8 which reads “8 The earth trembled, the heavens also poured down [rain] at the presence of God; yonder Sinai quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” Never did any people see the glory of God, nor hear His voice, as Israel did as seen in Deuteronomy 4:32-33 which reads “32 For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from one end of the heavens to the other, whether such a great thing as this has ever occurred or been heard of anywhere. 33 Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you heard, and live?” Never had any people such an excellent law given them, so expounded, so enforced. Then the earth shook, and the neighbouring countries, it is likely, felt the shock and the terrible thunders there were, accompanied no doubt with thunder-showers, in which the heavens seemed to drop while the divine doctrine dropped as the rain as seen in Psalms 32:2 which reads “2 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit”. Sinai itself, that vast mountain, that long ridge of mountains, was moved at the presence of God as seen in Deuteronomy 33:2 which reads, “2 He said, The Lord came from Sinai and beamed upon us from Seir; He flashed forth from Mount Paran, from among ten thousands of holy ones, a flaming fire, a law, at His right hand” and Habakkuk 3:3 reads “3 God [approaching from Sinai] came from Teman [which represents Edom] and the Holy One from Mount Paran [in the Sinai region]. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! His glory covered the heavens and the earth was full of His praise”. This terrible appearance of the Divine Majesty, as it would possess them with a fear and dread of Him, so it would encourage their faith in Him and dependence upon Him. Whatever mountains of difficulty lay in the way of their happy settlement, He that could move Sinai itself could remove them, could get over them, so was their faith in Him and so ought to be our faith in Him. i. That He provided very comfortably for them both in the wilderness and in Canaan as seen in Psalms 68:9-10. “9 You, O God, did send a plentiful rain; You did restore and confirm Your heritage when it languished and was weary. 10 Your flock found a dwelling place in it; You, O God, in Your goodness did provide for the poor and needy.” This may refer, a) To the victualling (provide with food or other stores) of their camp with the manna in the wilderness, which was rained upon them, as were also the quails as seen in Psalms 78:24, 27 “24 And He rained down upon them manna to eat and gave them heaven’s grain”, “27 He rained flesh also upon them like the dust, and winged birds [quails] like the sand of the seas”, and it might be fitly called a rain of liberality or munificence, for it was a memorable instance of the divine love, bounty and care. This confirmed the camp of Israel (here called God’s inheritance, because He had chosen them to be a peculiar treasure of Himself) when it was weary and ready to perish: this confirmed their faith, and was a standing proof of God’s power and goodness. Even in the wilderness God found a comfortable dwelling for Israel, which was His congregation. Or, b) To the seasonable supplies granted them in Canaan, that land flowing with milk and honey, which is said to drink water of the rain of heaven, as seen in Deuteronomy 11:11 “11 But the land which you enter to possess is a land of hills and valleys which drinks water of the rain of the heavens”. When sometimes that fruitful land was ready to be turned into barrenness, for the iniquity of those that dwelt therein, God, in judgment, remembered mercy, and sent them a plentiful rain, which refreshed it again, so that the congregation of Israel dwelt therein, and there was provision enough, even to satisfy their poor with bread. This looks further to the spiritual provision made for God’s Israel the Spirit of grace and the gospel of grace are the plentiful rain with which God confirms His inheritance, and from which their fruit is found in Isaiah 45:8 which reads “8 Let fall in showers, you heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness [the pure, spiritual, heaven-born possibilities that have their foundation in the holy being of God]; let the earth open, and let them [skies and earth] sprout forth salvation, and let righteousness germinate and spring up [as plants do] together; I the Lord have created it”. Christ Himself is this rain, as seen in Psalms 72:2 “2 Let him judge and govern Your people with righteousness, and Your poor and afflicted ones with judgment and justice”. He shall come as showers that water the earth. Now when you try to evaluate all of these with what is happening to us today, you see that the reason many people still want to be in Nigeria (bondage) is because they are afraid of hunger and thirst because they do not know the Lord and how He lead Israel out of Egypt. 4. That He often gave them victory over their enemies, and kings of armies, appeared against them, from their first coming into Canaan, and all along in the times of the judges, till David’s days, but, first or last, they gained their point against them as seen in Psalms 68:11, 12, and 14 “11 The Lord gives the word [of power]; the women who bear and publish [the news] are a great host. 12 The kings of the enemies’ armies, they flee, they flee! She who tarries at home divides the spoil [left behind]. 14 When the Almighty scattered kings in [the land], it was as when it snows on Zalmon [a wooded hill near Shechem].” Observe here, a) That God was Israel’s commander-in-chief: The Lord gave the word, as general of their armies. He raised up judges for them, gave them their commissions and instructions, and assured them of success. God spoke in His holiness, and them Gilead is mine, b) That they had prophets, as God’s messengers to make known His mind to them. God gave them His word (the word of the Lord came unto them) and then great was the company of the preachers –prophets and prophetesses, for the word is feminine. When God has messages to send He will not want messengers. Or perhaps it may allude the women’s joining in the triumph when the victory was obtained, as was usual as seen in Exodus 15:20 which reads, “20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing”, 1 Samuel 18:7 which reads, “7 And the women responded as they laughed and frolicked, saying, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands”, in which they took notice of the word of God, triumphing in that as much as in His works. c) That their enemies were defeated, and put to confusion: kings of armies did flee, did flee with the greatest terror and precipitation imaginable, did not fight and flee, but flee and flee, retired without striking a stroke they fled apace, fled and never rallied again. d) That they were enriched with the plunder of the field e) That these great things which God did for them were sanctified to them and contributed to their reformation as seen in Psalms 68:14 “14 When the Almighty scattered kings in [the land], it was as when it snows on Zalmon [a wooded hill near Shechem]”. This account of Israel’s victories is applicable to the victories obtained by the exalted Redeemer for those that are His, over death and hell. By the resurrection of Christ our spiritual enemies were made to flee, their power was broken, and they were forever disabled to hurt any of God’s people. This victory was first notified by the women to the disciples as seen in Matthew 28:7 which reads “7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples, He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you” and by them it was preached to all the world, while believers that tarry at home, that did not themselves contribute anything towards it, enjoy the benefit of it, and divide the spoil. f) That from a low and despised condition they had been advanced to splendour and prosperity. When they were bond-slaves in Egypt, and afterwards when they were oppressed sometimes by one potent neighbour and sometimes by another, they did, as it were, lie among the pots or rubbish, as despised broken vessels, or as vessels in which there was no pleasure –they were black, and dirty and discoloured. But God, at length, delivered them from the pots as seen in Psalms 81:6 which reads, “6 I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from the basket”, and in David’s time they were in a fair way to be one of the most prosperous kingdoms in the world, amiable in the eyes of all about them, like the wings of a dove covered with silver as seen in Psalms 68:13 which reads, “13 Though you [the slackers] may lie among the sheepfolds [in slothful ease, yet for Israel] the wings of a dove are covered with silver, its pinions excessively green with gold [are trophies taken from the enemy]”. “And so”, says Dr Hammond, “under Christ’s kingdom, the heathen idolaters that were brought to the basest and most despicable condition of any creatures, worshipping wood and stone, and given up to the vilest lusts, should from that detestable condition be advanced to the service of Christ, and the practice of all Christian virtues, the greatest inward beauties in the world.” It may be applied also to the deliverance of the church and His people out of a suffering state and the comforts of particular believers after their despondences. When you try to apply this in the current situation in Biafra land, certain things begin to make a particular sense: look at the word black and dirty (Nig geria) and compare it with the word fair and the prosperous kingdom that results, one begins to infer if it is what is likely to result when Biafra is eventually actualized!

  

Father, I am so grateful that You have led me to this gateway to health and happiness. Help me walk through it carefully, prayerfully and expectantly so that our blackness and dirtiness be turned to fairness with our prosperous Biafra actualized where all the detestable conditions be advanced to service in Christ and the practice of all Christian virtues. In Your name Lord Jesus I pray. Amen!