“Let God Arise, Let His Enemies Be Scattered”
“Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered, and let those who intensely hate him flee because of him.”—Ps. 68:1.
1, 2. Whom does God have as enemies, some of these not knowing?
GOD has his enemies! Millions of people today are enemies to the very thought that there is a God, the Most High and All-powerful One, the Divine Being who is without beginning and without end, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Maker of man, the One to whom all intelligent human creatures on earth are responsible, in full dependence upon Him.
2 There are other people who pretend to be worshipers of God, but who are really his enemies, most likely his worst enemies for the reason that they misrepresent him and are thus religious hypocrites. It is as one lover of God long ago said: “They publicly declare they know God, but they disown him by their works, because they are detestable and disobedient and not approved for good work of any sort.” (Titus 1:16) Hundreds of millions of others are enemies of God without their knowing it, not that they worship false gods, but because they are friends of this world: “Do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4, NW; Dy) Beyond all contradiction, God has his enemies, unhappily for them!
3. (a) To what extent will Jehovah now arise against his enemies? (b) What is his purpose as declared in Isaiah 28:21, and of what ought this to make the enemies think?
3 The time has come for God to rise up against his enemies on earth in one final move to dispose of them entirely. Cases are on the pages of history of where God has arisen against certain enemies of the day to relieve himself of their resistance. But now, according to his declared purpose, he will arise to rid the earth of his enemies of today in one big all-embracing movement, allowing none to escape. He has not forgotten his declared purpose, although it was recorded twenty-seven centuries ago: “Jehovah will rise up just as at Mount Perázim, he will be agitated just as in the low plain near Gibeon, that he may do his deed—his deed is strange—and that he may work his work—his work is unusual.” (Isa. 28:21) History shows what occurred at Perazim on that occasion, and it should be enough to make the enemies of Jehovah today think of how his destructive forces will burst forth like overwhelming waters to sweep them and their idols away.
4, 5. (a) Who witnessed what God did at Perazim and Gibeon, and what role did this one have to perform toward God’s enemies in all the land? (b) In Psalm 68:1-3, what did he pray regarding enemies and righteous ones?
4 A man who witnessed both what took place at Perazim and what took place later at Gibeon in the eleventh century before our Common Era was King David of Jerusalem. (2 Sam. 5:17-25; 1 Chron. 14:8-17) The clearing out of those Philistine enemies at Perazim and Gibeon did not do away completely with all the enemies of God’s kingdom that Jehovah had established there in the Middle East with King David as his visible representative on the throne of Jerusalem. There were many other enemies that yet remained in the strip of land that Jehovah God had promised to give to David’s forefather, the patriarch Abraham, a strip running from the great river Euphrates to the river of Egypt. (Gen. 15:17-21; 12:1-9; 13:14-18) Other powerful enemies, such as the Syrians, remained in this general land area and needed to be either destroyed or subdued and made vassals. King David was under God’s command to deal with these enemies in such a way as to bring fulfillment to God’s promise to give “all the land” to the descendants of his faithful friend Abraham. David must have had these enemies in mind when he wrote the opening words of Psalm 68 (verses one through three):
5 “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered, and let those who intensely hate him flee because of him. As smoke is driven away, may you drive them away; as wax melts because of the fire, let the wicked ones perish from before God. But as for the righteous, let them rejoice, let them be elated before God, and let them exult with rejoicing.”
6, 7. (a) Whom did the psalmist David there quote, and what was that one instructed to make to represent God’s presence? (b) When and why did this one say the words quoted by David?
6 As there were yet unsubdued enemies in the Promised Land, the victory march of Jehovah God against his enemies was not yet completely done. Fittingly, then, King David was inspired to write and to quote the words of the man whom Jehovah God used when starting this victory march, namely, the prophet Moses, in the sixteenth century B.C.E. Moses at that time found himself in the wilderness of Sinai in Arabia, along with the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel and also with a “vast mixed company” of non-Israelites. (Ex. 12:38; Num. 11:4) The whole encampment was made up of millions of people. In the spring of the previous year Jehovah God had miraculously delivered all these from Egypt, even destroying the armies of the Egyptians under Pharaoh when they tried to overtake the fleeing Israelites as they crossed through the dried-up bed of the Red Sea. In the third month thereafter the Israelites and the “mixed crowd” reached Mount Sinai, and there Jehovah God made a national covenant or contract with them.
7 According to the law of this national covenant a sacred tabernacle was erected for God’s worship. Into the innermost room of this tabernacle was put the golden ark of the covenant to represent God’s presence there. Whenever the Israelites struck tents and moved to the next place, the ark of the covenant would be carried on the shoulders of priests to that next stopping point. Thus God and his people were on the march to take possession of the Promised Land. There were many enemies in the way before ever they would get complete possession of the whole land. In recognition of this, Moses as mediator between God and the nation of Israel called upon God to take the lead, just as Numbers 10:35, 36 tells us in these words: “It would occur that when the Ark would set out, Moses would say: ‘Do arise, O Jehovah, and let your enemies be scattered; and let those who intensely hate you flee from before you.’ And when it would rest, he would say: ‘Do return, O Jehovah, to the myriads of thousands of Israel.’”
8, 9. In Psalm 68:4-6, what did King David call upon his people to do respecting God?
8 Jehovah’s victories and all his merciful treatment of his people deserved to be celebrated with song in praise to Him. The psalmist King David, who was a singer and a musician, called upon his people, the twelve tribes of Israel, to do so:
9 “Sing you to God, make melody to his name; raise up a song to the One riding through the desert plains as Jah, which is his name; and jubilate before him; a father of fatherless boys and a judge of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God is causing the solitary ones to dwell in a house; he is bringing forth prisoners into full prosperity. However, as for the stubborn, they have to reside in a scorched land.”—Ps. 68:4-6.
10. How, in Israel’s case, had God shown himself to be (a) a father to fatherless boys and (b) a judge of widows?
10 No nation or people on earth today could have a better ruler than the ancient nation of Israel had in its God, their invisible King. Their whole nation had been prisoners unwillingly and undeservingly in pagan Egypt; but Jehovah God desolated the land of Egypt with ten miraculous plagues and brought them out into prosperity, which reached its fullness by the time of King David. In Egypt the nation of Israel had been like a fatherless boy, but Jehovah proved himself to be a father to them, calling the whole nation “my first-born.” (Ex. 4:22) When he brought forth Israel his firstborn from oppression under the God-defying Pharaoh, all the firstborn males of Egypt were slain. God’s people down there were like a helpless widow with no one to plead for her in court, and he stepped in like the righteous Judge of the Supreme Court and saw that the afflicted nation got justice, a liberation. He came to be as a husband to his people.—Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:14; 31:31, 32.
11. How did God deal with the “solitary one” in contrast with the “stubborn” ones, and with what name did he ride along?
11 Treated as dangerous slaves in Egypt, the Israelites were like solitary persons in an unfriendly wilderness, with no home to which to go. But Jehovah brought them out and settled them as in a house, in the Promised Land. Those who showed themselves his enemies and stubbornly resisted him, he made to reside without the refreshing blessings of divine favor as in a land scorched by the sun. His name is Jah, which is an abbreviation for the name Jehovah. He made known his name Jehovah to his people down in Egypt as they and their faithful forefathers had never before known it. (Ex. 15:1, 2; 17:16) With this name, upon which he had heaped fame, he rode through the desert plain as he led his people through to the land of promise. Raise up a song to Him!
THE MARCH FROM SINAI TO ZION
12, 13. As the psalmist David reminds us, what things can God move to show his power as Creator, and how did he demonstrate this at Sinai?
12 It is nothing for this Almighty God Jehovah to move heaven and earth to show that he is the God of creation and all its laws. He displayed his power to do so at Mount Sinai in Arabia, where he brought his people in the third month after delivering them from slave-driving Egypt. Before ever he declared the Ten Commandments from atop Mount Sinai, he caused terrifying demonstrations in earth and sky, to impress the people of Israel with the fact that their Lawgiver was no mere puny human creature, but was the God of heaven and earth. If the inanimate things of creation are moved at his invisible presence, why should not his intelligent human creatures who behold his wondrous works of creation also be moved? He can move heaven and earth to carry out his will. The divine quality of power to do this the psalmist King David called to mind and mentioned, to Jehovah’s praise, as he said:
13 “O God, when you went forth before your people, when you marched through the desert . . . the earth itself rocked, heaven itself also dripped because of God; this Sinai rocked because of God, the God of Israel. A copious downpour you began causing to fall, O God; your inheritance, even when it was weary—you yourself reinvigorated it. Your tent community—they have dwelt in it; with your goodness you proceeded to make it ready for the afflicted one, O God.”—Ps. 68:7-10.
14. (a) How did God refresh his inheritance when it was weary? (b) How long was his people a “tent community,” and what resistance did they at last meet?
14 The people of Israel had been taken out from the pagan nations to be God’s own exclusive possession, and he called it his inheritance. (Deut. 32:8, 9) It had been afflicted in Egypt; and when it reached the foot of Mount Sinai in the wilderness, it was doubtless weary, like a thirsty land. But there, by giving them the Ten Commandments and all the other laws of his covenant and by establishing his pure organized worship among them, Jehovah God began causing a downpour of spiritual blessings. This was spiritually reinvigorating to the people of his inheritance and strengthening to them like food. They found that they had to live, not by physical food alone, but by every word proceeding out of God’s mouth. They spent a long time—forty years—as a tent community in the wilderness and outside the borders of the Promised Land. But in the closing year Jehovah brought them to the borders of the “land flowing with milk and honey.” Then the local kings began offering resistance. What now was there to do? Listen:
15, 16. As noted in Psalm 68:11, what part did the women of Israel have in connection with God’s victories by means of their men?
15 “Jehovah himself gives the saying; the women telling the good news are a large army. Even the kings of armies flee, they flee. As for her who abides at home, she shares in the spoil. Although you men kept lying between the camp ash heaps, there will be the wings of a dove covered with silver and its pinions with yellowish-green gold. When the Almighty One scattered abroad the kings in it, it began to snow in Zalmon.”—Ps. 68:11-14.
16 In ancient times women did not take part in battle action, but when the victorious troops returned they streamed forth from their homes to celebrate and to declare the good news with dance, song and music. Miriam, the sister of Moses: led the Israelite women in dance and song after their God Jehovah overthrew the Egyptian armies in the Red Sea. (Ex. 15:20, 21) Jephthah’s daughter came out to meet him with dance and music when he returned from his victory over the enemy Ammonites. (Judg. 11:34) When King Saul in company with his general David returned from victory over the Philistines, the women came out of all the cities to greet them with music, song and dance. (1 Sam. 18:6, 7) The women were not to keep silent on such occasions. It was their men who had been used in the victorious fighting under God, and they were entitled to join in the victory celebration and give the glory and credit for the victory to God, whose will their men had done.
17. (a) Why are the women of today obligated to tell the “good news”? (b) What was the “saying” that God gave to ancient Israel, and what was obedience to the “saying” to furnish?
17 Women of that kind are not enemies of God. Grand as the good news was that the womenfolk had to tell back there in the time of which the psalmist David wrote, the women of this modern day have still grander good news to tell and thereby prove that they are, not enemies, but friends of God. They get the good news from God, and it is their right and obligation to tell it. Back there in the days of the young nation of Israel, ‘Jehovah himself gave the saying.’ What was the saying? As the Israelites approached the Promised Land to wrest it out of the hands of God’s enemies, His “saying” to them would be to go forward courageously and take possession of it, executing with weapons of war God’s enemies who occupied the Promised Land without God-given right to it. The obedience to this command or “saying” on the part of the fighting men of Israel was to have what outcome? The God to whom the prayer was raised, “Do arise, O Jehovah, and let your enemies be scattered,” guaranteed that the outcome would be victory! It would result in “good news” that the women would be moved to celebrate with music and dance and to tell out with song.
18. (a) In what sense could God be said to give the “saying” to the womenfolk? (b) In what way did it begin to “snow” in Zalmon when God scattered enemy kings?
18 By fighting for his people and giving them victory, Jehovah would be giving the womenfolk something to tell. He would be supplying them the theme of their song of celebration; he would be giving them the good news. In this sense he could be spoken of as giving the saying. At the victory celebration the women would tell how the pagan kings of the enemy armies had fled from before Jehovah God, when he arose against them in battle. The women would tell that, when God the Almighty scattered the enemy kings in the way of Israel, the dead bodies of the enemy armies covered the field like snow, as in Zalmon; or, possibly, that, to grant victory to his people, he had called for a miraculous snow in Zalmon. The victorious fighters for God would return home after stripping the slain enemy, and they would share the spoil with their women who had to be left home to take care of the house.
19. How, though the men lay among camp ash heaps, was there to be a dove covered with precious metals?
19 It may have been that, although God’s executional armies had to lie down between the ash heaps during the campaign, there was a dove made of precious metals, with feathers covered with silver and its pinions with yellowish-green gold, to take home as a trophy of Jehovah’s victory. But then, too, the nation of Israel was called Jehovah’s “turtledove.” (Ps. 74:19) From this standpoint, although the men of this turtledove nation of God had had to lie between the ash heaps of the encampment, during a campaign of fighting against God’s enemies, they would come forth like a turtledove, strong of wing and clean in appearance, gleaming as if it were covered with silver and yellowish-green gold. Thus God would not give his turtledove nation into the hands of His foes.
20. What is it that the enemies keep doing since 1914, so that Jehovah must arise against them at Armageddon?
20 The force of this poetic account of God’s dealings ought not to be lost on God’s enemies today. These enemies try to stand in the way of God’s accomplishing his purpose with regard to his people, his bringing them successfully into the righteous new order that he has promised. The “time of the end” as foretold in his Word has come upon the nations of this world, beginning in 1914 at the end of the Gentile Times, “the appointed times of the nations.” They refuse to get out of power during this “time of the end” and peacefully give way to God’s exercising sovereignty over the earth of his creation. So it becomes necessary for Almighty God to oust them. He must arise against them in battle. This he will do at the battlefield of Armageddon. In the meantime the enemy nations continue to block the progress of God’s people as they work at advancing the earthly interests of God’s kingdom.
21. As in David’s case, how did the enemies try to keep Jesus Christ from reigning, and with what success?
21 The kingdom is not that of ancient David in earthly Jerusalem, but that of the promised Son of David, Jesus Christ, who was born into the family line of David through the Jewish virgin Mary by a miracle of God. The enemies tried to keep David from ruling as king on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, but they were disgracefully defeated when God arose against them. Likewise the enemies tried to keep the Son of David, Jesus Christ, from ruling as king, but they too bowed in defeat. They killed Jesus Christ outside Jerusalem on the day that the Jewish passover lamb was killed, but on the third day Almighty God raised him from the dead as a glorious immortal spirit Son. The Son of David then ascended to his heavenly Father. There Jehovah God laid him as a royal Stone in the heavenly Zion, to begin ruling there in God’s due time, that is, in 1914. Then God would begin to make all the Gentile nations a footstool under the feet of the Son of David.—Luke 21:24; Isa. 28:16-21; Ps. 110:1, 2; Acts 2:34-36; Heb. 10:13.
22. To what have the Gentile nations put up a resistance since 1914?
22 Since 1914 the Gentile nations have refused to recognize the end of the “appointed times of the nations” and have resisted being made the footstool of the reigning Son of David. But their stubborn resistance will prove to be in vain at Armageddon.
SERVING NOTICE ON THE NATIONS
23, 24. (a) What was the “saying” that Jehovah gave in 1914? (b) What did Jesus foretell to occur after 1914, and does this come under the mandatory “saying”?
23 As Psalm 68:11 long ago said, “Jehovah himself gives the saying.” At the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 Jehovah God gave the saying for the ouster of the enemy nations on earth. They are in their “time of the end.” (Dan. 11:40; 12:4) As regards what was to happen during this “time of the end,” the Son of David, Jesus Christ, foretold, not only world war, famines, pestilences, earthquakes and distress of nations, but also the proclaiming of the good news of a new government, the rightful government of the earth, namely, God’s kingdom. After he predicted the persecutions upon his faithful followers, Jesus said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matt. 24:7-14.
24 Thus God is serving notice upon the enemy nations. He has given the “saying” for such enemies to be subdued, made like a footstool under the feet of the Son of David. This mandatory “saying” includes also the serving of notice on them before He arises against them at Armageddon. Has this notice been served?
25. (a) Serving notice has meant what for the Kingdom witnesses and what for God? (b) Likewise the birth of the Kingdom meant what, and what kind of news resulted?
25 Yes, particularly since the year 1919. This has meant a fight on the part of Jehovah’s Kingdom witnesses since that year. But these Kingdom witnesses have prayed: “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered.” In answer, God has cleared the way for them to serve notice upon the enemy nations by preaching the good news that God’s kingdom was established in the hands of the Son of David in 1914. This has meant a series of victories for Jehovah, making it possible that today the Kingdom notice is being served on the nations in 199 lands and in 164 languages. The very birth of God’s kingdom in the heavens meant a victory by Him over Satan the Devil and his demons. (Rev. 12:5-12) The expanding of the work of serving notice about the Kingdom upon more and more nations has meant further victories for Jehovah God. Such divine victories serve as good news that should be told to the peoples.
26. (a) How is it true today that “the women telling the good news” are a large number? (b) Why is the word “army” a good word for this band of women?
26 Those spiritual victories of God till now have been celebrated world wide. God’s “saying” has not been in vain. As a result of his proceeding to carry it out victoriously, “the women telling the good news are a large army.” (Ps. 68:11) The reported facts prove that. In April of this year of 1967 there were all around the globe 1,154,079 serving notice concerning God’s kingdom and announcing His deeds in his victorious march to Armageddon. That is a large company of celebrators. And if we examine into the personnel of this throng of celebrators, we shall find that the large majority of them were women. Hence out of those 1,154,079 celebrators the number of the womenfolk would make up a “large army.” And “army” is a good word for this band of women who are “telling the good news.” Why? Because they are fighters under God, whose name is Jah, or Jehovah. Many of them may have to mind the house as a mother, wife or daughter, but they are sharing in the spoils of God’s victories through his Kingdom witnesses on earth. In going from house to house preaching, these women are as a whole doing more than all the menfolk.