Vs. 1-6 Let the procession begin;
Vs. 7-14 have the procession continue through the wilderness;
Vs. 15-21 describe enemies held off from the procession;
Vs. 22-28 show the unity of God’s people in the procession;
Vs. 29-31 have foreign countries impressed with this spectacle;
Vs. 32-35 give praise to the God of gods.
There is no reason to doubt that David wrote this Psalm, thus it could refer to his moving the ark of God from Obed-Edom to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:1-19) and establish it as the city of David (2 Samuel 5:6-9). Between the cherubim wings on top of the ark was where God was represented by a cloudy pillar by day and a fiery pillar by night (Exodus40:38). This Psalm may track the ark from its beginning with Moses at Sinai until it arrives with David in Jerusalem.
Verses 1-6: It begins (verse 1) with the very words used by Moses every time the ark moved (Numbers 10:35). No enemies could prevent its progress (verse 2), to the rejoicing of the righteous (verse 3). Worship in song to (verse 4) THE God (“Yah” a.k.a. Jehovah identified to Moses for their covenant, Exodus 3:13-15; 6:2-6) who (verse 4) “rides on the clouds,” figuratively showing His freedom of movement. In the wilderness, (verse 5) God provided what the orphaned and widowed nation of Israel needed. They were “His holy habitation.” God united and freed Israelite families from Egypt (verse 6), but made them wander 40 years because they rebelled (Deuteronomy 1:26).
Verses 7-14: In the wilderness (verse 7), God “went before them” (Exodus 13:21-22), then (verse 8) Mount Sinai appeared like a volcano (Exodus 19:16-18), and (verse 9) “the rain” (whether to quench the fire of God’s judgment, Numbers 11:1-3, or manna that fell with the dew, Numbers 11:4-9) showed them God cared for them. Verses 10-11 state the Israelites dwelt in their Promised Land. Verse 12 points to their victories which drove out those who lived in the land, and verse 13 reminds readers of the peace they had when those kings scattered (verse 14) in defeat.
Verse 15-21: Mountains often represent countries, and (verses 15-16) Bashan, once conquered, belonged to God! It was God who overcame the chariots (verse 17). Verse 18 is quoted in Ephesians 4:8 to show that “gifts” in the church of Christ came from God (Ephesians 4:1-16). Verses 19-20 conclude that God blesses and preserves the saved, while verse 21 gives no hope to those who continue in sin.
Verses 22-28: In verses 22-23, a reminder of exactly how God defeated the king of Bashan (Numbers 21:33-35; and Ahab later, 1 Kings 21:17-29). Verse 24 draws attention to God’s procession into His sanctuary, (verse 25) the music accompanying it, and (verse 26) focuses worship upon God. (With “singers” going before and “players on instruments” next, there is decided difference in the two kinds of music: vocal and instrumental! Christians today sing, Colossians 3:16). Israel’s history (verse 27) in their land had King Saul, leader from tribe of Benjamin, no one leader from the tribe of Judah, and others from the tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali. Later, the church of Christ will use the unified works of: Saul of Tarsus (the “least” Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:9) from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5), Jesus Christ is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” (Revelation 5:5), and the tribes of Zebulon and Naphtali in others of the 12 Apostles. Verse 28 states that Israel would not exist were it not for God’s strong arm.
Verses 29-31: Because the Israeli Nation would worship at God’s “temple at Jerusalem,” it would be the center of worship for all (verses 29-30), and the conquered peoples would have to pay in silver. Today, the church of Christ is God’s temple (1 Corinthians 1:1; 6:16; Ephesians 2:14-22) for all who obey Jesus Christ (Acts 2:36-38). Verse 31 predicted widespread prominence and peace for Israel, surely in Solomon’s day (1 Kings 4:24-25).
Verses 32-35: “Sing” to God (verse 32) because: He is over “you kingdoms of the earth;” (verse 33) He “rides on the heaven of heavens” (He is the highest of all!); His “mighty voice” alone has power over all; (verse 34) “His strength is in the clouds” means His might is untouchable; (verse 35) He is “more awesome” and the source of strength to His people.
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.