Reading through the Bible together
Open the Bible right in the middle and you will find yourself in the book of Psalms. A Psalm is a sacred song, a hymn. This book could very well be titled “Songs of David”since most of them were written by him. The three books that follow were penned by his son, the last of which is Song of Solomon. This unit of four books opens and closes in lyrics, bonding father and son who in unison appeal to us to join them in their veneration of God.
But within Psalm 68 there is a message about women that someone brought to my attention a few years back. Verse 11 actually reads, “The Lord gave the word; Great was the host of women who publish/proclaim it.” And the New English Translation says,"The sovereign Master speaks; many, many women spread the good news." At the forefront of these women is Ellen G. White. In December of 1844 she and four other ladies were kneeling in prayer when she received her first vision. Though frail in many ways, God strengthened her to write and publish. In the 1970s I was a student at Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University), and worked part-time at the General Conference. I feel fortunate to have then met Arthur White, Mrs. White’s grandson. He expressed that E.G. White is the most translated female non-fiction author in history as well as the most translated American non-fiction author of either gender.
Psalm 68 directs the reader’s attention to a time in history when God will rise and sinners will be no more (v. 1-2); a time when the righteous rejoice and sing to Him who rides on the clouds (v. 3-4); a time of deliverance from death (v. 20); a time when thousands upon thousands of chariots of God will come to take us home (v. 17), of which the chariot that came for Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) gives us a glimpse of that glorious day. Then the Lord will be among His people as He was at Sinai (v. 17).
David yearns for all the kingdoms of the earth to sing praises to God. He wants humanity to join him in his faith and hope. Throughout the Psalms he shares experiences of the highs and lows of his life, creating emotions that uplift our souls in order to draw us into the circle of God’s love. His arguments follow the rules of logic just as good music follows rules of composition. In the Psalms, David combines both, adding music to his testimony and thus transfixing his audience in what really matters: that our omnipotent, trustworthy Creator deems us not be insignificant, but loves us with eternal love and wants to live with us and in us. David calls Him, Lord (v. 4). We call Him by Name: Jesus. It means “Savior.” (Matthew 1:21) Jesus is our Lord and Savior, and our God. Yet more beautiful than salvation is the Savior Himself. David expressed it this way, “O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places.” (v. 35) Indeed nothing is more awesome, more beautiful, than Jesus. When He rode a colt and the multitude of disciples cast their garments rejoicing and praising God with a loud voice, Pharisees asked Jesus to rebuke them, but He answered, “If these should hold their peace, the stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:33-40)
This Psalm credits women for dividing the spoil of battle (v. 12) and gives reference to the wings of a dove (v.13), words appropriately placed to close the mention of women (v. 11-13), since Solomon also refers to women as doves, “Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled” (S of S 5:2). And as Jesus is about to ride on the clouds, God’s daughters throughout the world rejoice and praise God with a loud voice. Our song we are unable to contain. Our pens we are not able to put down. If we were to hold our peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
Amen and Amen.
Retired from the Legal Field