Psalm 68

May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him. As smoke is blown away by the wind, may you blow them away; as wax melts before the fire, may the wicked perish before God.

But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds-his name is the LORD-and rejoice before him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

When you went out before your people, O God, when you marched through the wasteland, the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it,
and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.

The Lord announced the word, and great was the company of those who proclaimed it: “Kings and armies flee in haste; in the camps men divide the plunder. Even while you sleep among the campfires, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.”

When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Zalmon. The mountains of Bashan are majestic mountains; rugged are the mountains of Bashan. Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever?

The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious— that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins. The Lord says, “I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea, that you may plunge your feet in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.”

Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines.

Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel. There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them, there the great throng of Judah’s princes, and there, the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali. Summon your power, O God ; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before. Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts. Rebuke the beast among the reeds, the herd of bulls among the calves of the nations. Humbled, may it bring bars of silver. Scatter the nations who delight in war. Envoys will come from Egypt; Cush will submit herself to God.

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, to him who rides the ancient skies above, who thunders with mighty voice. Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies. You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!

In this Age of Grace, some believers long for visible signs of the Lords’ power and majesty. They read with envy of days gone by when the Lord sent fire from Heaven to devour the enemies of His people in their sight. And seeing no new evidence of His existence, the scoffers sneer, “Where is the promise of His coming?” not realizing that His Grace extends over them even as they continue in their doubt.

We all want mercy for ourselves and justice for everyone else. When the Lord and His disciples were making their last journey to Jerusalem together, they passed through a Samaritan town and were denied hospitality. Indignant at the insult, James and John asked the Lord for permission to call for fire from heaven to destroy the town. (Luke 9:54) These same two had earlier sent their mother to ask Jesus to seat them on either side of Him on His Heavenly Throne. (Matt. 20:20-21) Sounds just like us doesn’t it?

What we don’t seem to understand is that it’s either one or the other. During the Age of the Law it was all justice. People were put to death for working on the Sabbath, or having sex outside of marriage, or just taking the Lord’s name in vain. When the King or High Priest was evil, the whole nation suffered. The sins of the fathers were visited upon the children and multiplied unto death.

Now it’s all mercy. The cross took care of the sin problem for God, and the Age of Grace began. Now people are forgiven their sins just for asking. Justice having been served, God can no more withhold the full measure of His merciful love now, than He could show it before. Even that person who persecutes you so unmercifully can receive the same forgiveness as you, and might even occupy the mansion next to yours in Heaven one day. Never mind that he or she sinned right up to the last moment, while you labored diligently for the Lord all your life. God loves all His children and doesn’t want any to perish, but for all to come to repentance. Look at the price He paid to make it possible.

Mercy ends with the close of the Age of Grace when the Lord, in His second greatest act of mercy ever, whisks the Church away in the Rapture. Then it’s back to justice. As you look down from your place of eternal bliss and watch while those who were left behind get what they deserve (what you deserve) I think you’ll agree. Grace is better.