Sermon / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Wednesday Prayer Service September 6th 2017 - / Psalm 68 / The Location, Location, Location of Your Salvation
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Wednesday September 6th 2017: Season of Pentecost / Psalm 68 "The Location, Location, Location of Your Salvation"
God shall arise, His enemies shall be scattered;
and those who hate Him shall flee before Him!
As smoke is driven away, so You shall drive them away;
as wax melts before fire,
so the wicked shall perish before God!
But the righteous shall be glad;
they shall exult before God;
they shall be jubilant with joy!
Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
lift up a song to Him who rides through the deserts;
His name is the LORD;
exult before Him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in His holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home;
He leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
O God, when You went out before Your people,
when You marched through the wilderness,
the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
Rain in abundance, O God, You shed abroad;
You restored Your inheritance as it languished;
Your flock found a dwelling in it;
in Your goodness, O God, You provided for the needy.
The Lord gives the word;
the women who announce the news are a great host:
“The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil—
though you men lie among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
its pinions with shimmering gold.
When the Almighty scatters kings there,
let snow fall on Zalmon.
O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for His abode,
yes, where the LORD will dwell forever?
The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands;
the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
You ascended on high,
leading a host of captives in Your train
and receiving gifts among men,
even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.
Blessed be the Lord,
who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation.
Our God is a God of salvation,
and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
But God will strike the heads of His enemies,
the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways.
The Lord said,
“I will bring them back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
that you may strike your feet in their blood,
that the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from the foe.”
Your procession is seen, O God,
the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
the singers in front, the musicians last,
between them virgins playing tambourines:
“Bless God in the great congregation,
the LORD, O You who are of Israel's fountain!”
There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in their throng,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.
Summon Your power, O God,
the power, O God, by which You have worked for us.
Because of Your temple at Jerusalem
kings shall bear gifts to You.
Rebuke the beasts that dwell among the reeds,
the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample underfoot those who lust after tribute;
scatter the peoples who delight in war.
Nobles shall come from Egypt;
Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.
O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God;
sing praises to the Lord,
to Him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
behold, He sends out His voice, His mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God from His sanctuary;
the God of Israel—He is the one who gives power and strength to His people.
Blessed be God!
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. You may have heard this little phrase before, “The three most important considerations in real estate are location, location, location." That line “Location, Location, Location” can be found as early as 1926 in a real estate classified ad in the Chicago Tribune but the idea goes back way further than 1926. Today’s Psalm, Psalm 68, is about a piece of real estate. A small city where “Location, Location, Location” seemed to be its biggest advantage.
They said it was impenetrable, that no one could break into it, no one could conquer it. The fortifications were so strong, so powerful, the landscape so challenging that even ‘the lame and the blind,’ could defend it against invaders. Yes the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, had said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off.” These Jebusites and their city were one of the holdout strongholds of the people counted alongside the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Hivites; These Jebusites, the people in this little patch of elevated rocky terrain had managed to stay secure behind their walls during the conquest of the promised land by Joshua as all the others fell; all through the days of the Judges of the children of Israel these Jebusites and their city went on unscathed; even during the rule of Saul Israel’s first king, he likewise did not take it, they remained untouched. Yet now, behold, here comes David, freshly anointed king over Israel at Hebron, and David has a plan.
Yes the city was impenetrable if David followed a standard battle plan, but David had something tucked up his sleeve, while his forces were making a rapid attack distracting the Jebusites David sent in more men through a water shaft, a drainage “pipe,” a bit of city pluming, and taking the Jebusites by surprise he took not just them but the whole city, ironically they were blind to his plan of attack and as mighty as they had appeared, as mighty as they were, they were lame in their now compromised efforts to stop King David. That day Joab the son of Zeruiah became David’s chief commander and what had seemed impossible was accomplished: Psalm 68 was written by David in the wake of this victory. The city of the Jebusites became David’s city, the city of David, Jerusalem, Mount Zion; the stronghold of Zion became the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
Psalm 68 marks the coming of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem following this victory; this is why David recounts the Salvation History of Israel and their recue out of Egypt. “O God, when You went out before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness, the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel.” The Ark of the Covenant was the throne of God on earth, the Mercy Seat, the place where the Lord promised to be present with His people, the place from which He would show them His mercy. In Psalm 68 David invokes Mount Sinai, the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Moses describes the presence of God at Sinai like this, “Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.” And now David in Psalm 68 says, “Sinai is now in the sanctuary,” Sinai now rests in Jerusalem; the contents of the Ark of the Covenant, the very 10 Commandments, the Ark of the Covenant itself, have come to rest in this impenetrable city conquered, vanquished by God, brought low by God. David with jubilant joy puts the victory into God’s Hands for it was the Lord who rose up scattering His enemies; they fled before Him as smoke is driven away, God had driven them away; as wax melts before fire. In David God took the Mountain, the city, from the Jebusites - these men who were sure that they were safe behind their walls. And with this Psalm David celebrates that the LORD Himself in victory has come to Zion, to Jerusalem, that his “God, [David’s God, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Israel, that their God,] is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord,” David adds, “belong deliverances from death.” And dear ones, this is where Jesus enters into Psalm 68.
Psalm 68 recounts the past awesome deeds of Salvation accomplished by God, and yet it looks forward, it looks forward to the Temple that David’s son King Solomon would build, it looks much further forward to Jesus and to His conquering of Jerusalem, His unlikely conquest. Jesus brought no army; He had no men of war, no mighty men of valour at His side save His disciples (none of whom were soldiers) when He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey that first Palm Sunday: And through His betrayal and capture, through His trial and passion, through His bloody sweat and agony Jesus took Mount Zion, He took that lonely hill beside the city, the place of the Skull, unexpectedly like one attacking through a water shaft, a drainage “pipe,” a bit of city pluming, carrying His cross through the sewage of our sin to His crucifixion where He was nailed as helpless as a blind and lame man. He did not take it by force but by obedience.
In His death He took the Hill, He took Mount Zion, He took Jerusalem captive. He took death captive; He destroyed death by His own death. By His death upon the cross your enemies of sin, death, the devil, the world, and even in your worst, you, were as blind to Jesus’ plan of attack as the Jebusites had been to King David’s attack; and as mighty as your enemies appeared to be, as mighty as they were, as mighty as they are, they turned out – in the end – to be lame in their compromised efforts to stop Jesus’ plan of Salvation and so it is that Saint Paul quotes this Psalm in Ephesians, Paul says “[Christ] who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. In Jesus’ resurrection, through Jesus’ ascension, Saint Paul says along with David, “When He ascended on high He led a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men and women.” Yes, we who were once captive to sin, captive to death, are now captive to Christ “having been set free from sin, [we] have become slaves of righteousness” in Christ Jesus. We are part of His host of captives led in His train as He fills all things. Yes you who were counted among the rebellious, you who were counted among the enemies of God are restored, forgiven, saved, no longer alone, through Christ Jesus His Father has become your Father and He promises you His protection. Saint Paul also says to us, “for if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by [Jesus] life.”
“Location, Location, Location” Mount Golgotha, the place of the Skull, that Good Friday place where Jesus died, that little Mountain on Mount Zion, at Jerusalem, is transformed from an impossible place of death swallowing up man, after man, after man in crucifixion; that location is made by Christ Jesus to be a place of Life where an unexpected victory was accomplished as David says in Psalm 68, “Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.” And Saint Paul confirms this for you all the more clearly when he says to you, “For if we have been united with [Jesus] in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with [Jesus] in a resurrection like His. [For] We know that our old self was crucified with [Jesus] in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. [Therefore] if we have died with Christ [Jesus], we believe that we will also live with Him.” In Christ you have this very promised deliverances from death. You now, like King David, can put all your enemies (sin, death, the devil, the world, and even in your worst, you) into God’s awesome and almighty Hand, into the merciful Hands of Christ and He will daily bear you up, giving power and strength and faith sufficient for your salvation in Him. Leave your troubles, your enemies to Him and remember whatever your “location, location, location” might be, however impossible your circumstances may appear, or may in fact be, the Lord as described by King David in Psalm 68 is your God and He is with you wherever you are. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 "Location, Location, Location" by William Safire, The New York Times Magazine, June 26th 2009
 Joshua 15:63
 Judges 1:21
 1 Chronicles 11:4-9
 2 Samuel 5:6-9
 1 Chronicles 11:6
 Exodus 19:18-20
 John 18:36, “Jesus answered [Pilate], “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.””
 Matthew 26:52-54, Then Jesus said to [Peter], “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?””
 Ephesians 4:10
 Ephesians 4:8
 Romans 6:18
 Romans 5:10
 Romans 6:5-8