Called to Contend, in Christ’s Power! Psalm 68:24-28

Text: “…Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s…Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the Salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”

2 Chronicles 20:15-17.

Good morning, actively contending Christian!  Not for you the weekly, or bi-weekly, sitting on a non-participating pew of a church-building; going through the motions of being a Christian; attending, legalistically, never-ending ‘church-meetings’; preaching to the converted; and going through every rite of ‘religion’ laid down to you by often well-meaning, but just as often, foolish clerics. 

No!  You have been saved from Hell’s fires and an Eternity of terrible punishment and torments by the risen Christ Jesus, and being thus gloriously delivered, you are very keen to share the Gospel with other sin-enslaved captives of self, sin and Satan. 

Praise God for your zeal to serve the Living Lord God!  Praise God for the leading of God the Holy Spirit, pointing you and directing you to GET OUT THERE to contend for the true Christian faith.  Thank you, dear Lord God, for actively contending Christians!

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common Salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort (urge) you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  (Jude 3)

How are the unsaved, unregenerate, perishing souls of our nation ever going to receive knowledge of Christ’s great Salvation, if you and I are constantly found merely sitting in what has been called ‘Holy Huddles’, ensconced within some obscure building which has been designated by mere men as ‘the church’? 

All those who have been redeemed by Christ’s precious and sinless Blood; quickened from having a dead spirit to be a living spirit by God the Spirit’s regeneration; granted, by God’s grace, the gifts of repentance from our sins and faith to believe and receive Christ’s full Atonement Sacrifice for all our sins; and born again of Him – WE ARE THE CHURCH!

Christ does not live within buildings made by man’s hands of cement and stone and wood.  Christ lives within His Church, and you and I who are born again in Christ Jesus, have Christ Himself living within our hearts (the whole essence of our being, not the blood-pump in our chests), and only, and at all times, by God’s free and wonderful gift of grace.

Christ is the only Person Who can call us to be ‘members’ of His Body – the true Church.

“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto me (Paul), as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 3:9-11)

 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him/her shall God destroy; for the temple of God is Holy, which temple ye are.  (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

‘Yes, Dr McClinton, I hear what you are trying to teach me, but I am of a naturally shy, reserved, nature, and don’t feel I could go out and actively contend with others for the Salvation of their souls – I just wouldn’t be strong or brave enough to do so!’, I hear some say.

To such dear ones, in Christ, I repeat the promise of the Lord God: “…Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s…Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the Salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”   (2 Chronicles 20:15-17)

When we go forth to witness for Christ; when we seek to faithfully present the glorious Gospel story and the promises of the Lord God to other members of our families; to neighbours; to associates in the work-place – we are NEVER called to do it in the power of our own puny flesh, or the strength of our own human personalities.  We go forth to do Spiritual Battle in the Name of Christ Jesus, and in the full power of God the Holy Ghost.  Praise His Name for the privilege!

“But ye (true active-service Christians) shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me (Jesus Christ) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

Verse 28. “Thy God hath commanded thy strength. Thy strength is thy best – all that is within thee; all that thou canst do, and be, and become; and all that thou hast – the two mites, if these be all, and the alabaster box of spikenard, very costly, if this be thy possession…By that which God is in Himself, by that which God is in us, by law on the heart, and by law oral and written, by the new kingdom of His love, and by all His benefits, Thy God Commands thy strength.”  (Samuel Martin 1871)

The Lord God is not asking you and I, mere mortals and so prone to sin and failure, to do anything miraculous, or to achieve anything momentous in His service.  He is only asking you and I to be faithful with His Word, in His Word, and by the guidance of His Word at all times, inspired by God the Holy Spirit. 

It is our God-given task to be faithful and obedient to His direction.  It is God’s own Divine power to fulfil His faithful promises to us, as clearly given to us in His infallible Word.

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom; preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine… But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”  (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

When other souls refuse to hear what you and I have shared with them of the Gospel, that too is okay – for there are many that not only will not hear, but by God’s decree, cannot hear the Gospel message and receive Christ.  (1 Corinthians 2:14) However, our duty to such souls is done, when once we seek to clearly show them Christ’s Salvation.

Thought: Better to be a Christian contender, than a Spiritual coward.  Come out of that comfortable ‘holy huddle’, begin to actually prove yourself in the army of the Living Christ Jesus?  Be an actively contending Christian, to the glory of the risen Lord Jesus.

Sin’s Captives – Christ’s Warriors! Psalm 68:18-23

Text: “Thou hast ascended on High, Thou hast led captivity captive: Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.  Blessed be the Lord, Who daily leadeth us with benefits, even the God of our Salvation.”  

Psalm 68:18-19.

Good morning, captivated Christian!  Once you and I were fallen captives of Adam’s sin; plus, our own litany of sins; and bound in them by Satan, and by self.  We were LOST.

“…For there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:22-23)

However, there came a glorious day in our lives when Christ Jesus, the only begotten Son of the Living Father God, caused us to be quickened by God the Spirit’s quickening power, and we were made ‘…willing…’ to partake of God’s forgiveness of all sins; and Eternal life in Christ our Redeemer King.  Wow!  Now, this is something to shout about, Reader!  Hallelujah!

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.”  (Psalm 110:3)

Sin is a strong man.  Satan is a strong man.  Selfishness and fallen self are a strong man.  The world and all its allurements are a strong man that can hold the soul of mankind in a deathly and fatal grip.  By all these, you and I were helpless captives indeed.  We were LOST.

Wait for it, believer!  This is not the end of our story, is it?  For our Great and Holy Shepherd came to us, seeking His sheep.  Do our hearts not almost sob out in Eternal relief at this point?  Mine does.  What does God’s Word say on this subject?

“And Jesus said unto him (the unsaved Zacchaeus), This day is Salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was LOST.”  (Luke 19:9-10)

“For the Son of man is come to SAVE that which was LOST.”                     (Matthew 18:11)

And Can it Be?

1. And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me?

Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, should die for me!

4. Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quick'ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee. [Refrain]

5 No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own. [Refrain]


According to the editor of The Oxford Edition of the Works of John Wesley, “And Can It Be” was written immediately following Charles Wesley’s conversion to Christianity on May 21, 1738. Wesley had known his Bible well before this time but had not yet experienced affirmation of new birth or the wholeness of grace in his life.”

Verse 18. “Thou hast led captivity captive.  The ancient prophecy of David is fulfilled here on the foot of Mount Olivet.  To take “captivity captive” signifies that Christ conquered the allied principalities and powers, the Devil, sin, death, and Hell; that He deprived them of the instruments wherewith they enslaved men.  He not only silenced the cannon on the Spiritual Gibraltar, but He took rock fortification, and all.  He not only silenced the horrible and destructive battlements of the powerful and compactly united ghostly enemies, but He threw down the towers, razed the castles, and took away the keys of the dungeons.

“He had no sooner left the grave, than He began to distribute His gifts, and did so all along the road on His way to His Father’s House; and, especially after He entered the Heaven of Heavens, did He shower down gifts unto men, as a mighty conqueror loaded with treasures with which to enrich and adorn His followers and people.”  (Christmas Evans 1766-1838)

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on High, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.”  (Ephesians 4:7-8)

By God’s Sovereign grace and power, in Christ Jesus – we, who were once sin’s captives, are now made willing to receive God’s free gift of Salvation, and empowered to become Spiritual warriors for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Thus, we are called to stand up on our feet, and become “…An exceeding great army.” 

“So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them (the valley of dried bones), and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceeding great army.” (Ezekiel 37:1-10)

Thought: Sin’s captives become Christ’s Spiritual warriors, when we are born again of Him.  This way to the Battle, redeemed warrior of Christ.  Victory is already ours in Him.

Called, Redeemed, Armed for Spiritual Battle! Psalm 68:12-17

Text: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His Presence.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-29.

Good morning, once very foolish Christian!  You and I were ‘foolish’ to a fault, due to the fact that we were born that way, born of woman in Adam’s foolishly fallen image instead of the image he was CREATED in, that is, the perfect and Holy image of Almighty Lord God.

“And Adam lived (after his fall from grace) an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness (fallen), after his image (tarnished by sin); and called his name Seth.”  (Genesis 5:3)

“Behold (look, and fully understand), I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”  (Psalm 51:5)

However, praise the Lord God, He did not leave you and I in that fallen image! In the Person of God the Holy Ghost, He quickened our dead spirit; granted us His gifts of repentance and faith; permitted us to believe and receive Salvation in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ – and now we are once more living as regenerated Christian believers, cast and being conformed daily to the perfect image of Almighty Lord God Jehovah, through the full Atonement of God the Son, Christ Jesus.  What grace!  What love!  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour we have in Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Glory to His Holy Name!

“And you (born again believers) hath He quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins…Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;).”  (Ephesians 2:1;5)

However, the Lord God did not save you and I for to sit like a ‘…dry bone…’, fully dressed in our Sunday best, in a pew of a church-building!  No!  You and I were quickened, brought from Spiritual death to Spiritual life, to grow in God’s grace; to study to show ourselves approved unto God; to put on Spiritual muscle and faith by His Word; and to stand up for Jesus as an “…exceeding great army.”!

“So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them (the dry bones), and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”  (Read Ezekiel 37:1-10)

Verse 11.  “The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it.  You shall find, when the enemies of the church are destroyed, that God hath many preachers made that do teach His praises.  The word which you read company, in the Hebrew it is “army” – “…great was the army of preachers…”  An army of preachers is a great matter; nay it is a great matter to have seven or eight good preachers in a great army; but to have a whole army of preachers, that is glorious.  Now, my brethren, it is much to have a preaching army; but if this army will with heart and soul preach of God’s praise, oh, that is a blessed thing.”  (William Bridge 1600-1670, in “The True Soldier’s Convoy”)  

Verse 12.  “Kings of armies did flee apace.  Head demons, and demonic kings in Satan’s vile legions, would and do ‘flee apace…’, when confronted by not only an army of preachers of Christ’s Gospel, but when one called out, born again, soul cries out the war-cry of Christ’s true Church worldwide: “It is finished!”  Demon kings must flee when the child of God claims the precious, sinless redeeming Blood of King Jesus Christ, King of all kings, and Lord of all Lords.  Hallelujah!  Jesus Lives!  Victory is ours in Him!

Verse 13.  “Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.  It is a hard passage, a nut for the learned to crack.  If we knew all that was known when this ancient hymn was composed, the allusion would no doubt strike us as being beautifully appropriate, but as we do not, we will let it rest among the unriddled things.  Of making may conjectures there is no end, but the sense seems to be, that from the lowest condition the Lord would lift up His people into joy, liberty, wealth, and beauty.”  (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 292)

The author of this series on the Psalms, himself lay in a maximum-security prison cell as a vile, convicted terrorist, when the Lord God, through the reading of an old prison-issue KJV Bible, granted conviction of sin; full realisation of Christ’s pure righteousness; and the judgement that would surely come upon all who sin.  As I lay among the POTS (portable urinals) of that solitary confinement prison cell, the Lord God in His Sovereign grace, lifted up my soul, cleansed it in His own precious Blood; and made me soar as a born-again child of God on the majestic wings of the Dove.  That was 44 years ago, and He has kept me in His tender care and love ever since.  Give God the glory, dear Reader, I am FREE!

“And ye shall know the truth, and the TRUTH shall make you free.”  (John 8:32)

“Jesus saith unto him (Thomas), I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”  (John 14:6)

Verse 14. “When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.  A traveller informed the writer that on a raw and gusty day he saw the side of what he supposed to be Mount Salmon suddenly swept bare by a gust of wind, so that the snow was driven hither and thither into the air like the down of thistles or the spray of the sea: thus did the Omnipotent One scatter all the potentates that defied Israel.  Whatever the precise meaning, it was intended to portray the glory and completeness of the Divine triumph over the greatest foes.  In this let all believers rejoice.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 292-293)

When you and I, by God’s call to service, and by the enablement of His Spiritual gifting and strength, rise up and go forth to do Spiritual Battle, in the Name of King Jesus – no sinner, demon, or Devil can hinder us in declaring Christ’s Victory at Calvary’s Cross!  For we do not go out into Spiritual Battle alone, nor could be ever succeed in doing so, for our enemies are infinitely too powerful for our mere mortal flesh and minds.  No!  We go out to Battle covered in the precious and sinless Blood of Christ, and at all times, in the very Presence of our Sovereign Lord God.  Glory to His Holy Name! (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Verse 17.  “The Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the Holy Place. The Presence of God is the strength of the church; all power is ours when God is ours.  Twenty thousand chariots shall bear the Gospel to the ends of the earth; and myriads of agencies shall work for its success.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 293)

Thought:  If you and I are called by God, we are redeemed by Christ’s Blood; and armed by God the Spirit for Spiritual Battle.  We don’t find many soldiers wallowing in ‘religion’, in the safety of perpetual pews – get out there and fight for King Jesus!

Called to March with the Almighty! Psalm 68:7-11

Text: “O God, when Thou wentest forth before thy people, when Thou didst march through the wilderness; the earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the Presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the Presence of God, the God of Israel.”

Psalm 68:7-8.

Good morning, marching Christian!  You and I have been called by the Living Lord God, not to be mere bystanders, or side-line watchers in His great army of sin-liberated souls.  No!  We are called to prepare Spiritual weapons from His Word; live our lives in dedicated duty and loyalty to Christ Jesus; and be drawn out to march with the Almighty as He subdues all that is sin-blackened and rebellious upon His Created earth. 

Up, Christian soldier!  Let us draw strength from God’s Spirit, and Spiritual arms from the Heavenly armoury of His Word.  Hallelujah!  Our God reigneth!

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

If the Holy Presence of the Living Creator Lord goes before us into Spiritual Battle – what have we to fear from mere worldlings, evil powers, or wicked Devils?  Nothing!  We are to fear nothing when we are called to march with the Almighty Lord God, in Christ Jesus.

Verse 8. “The earth shook, the Heavens also dropped at the Presence of God; even Sinai itself was moved at the Presence of God, the God of Israel.  This passage is so sublime that it would be difficult to find its equal.  May the reader’s heart adore the God before Whom the unconscious earth and sky act as if they recognised their Maker and were moved with a tremor of reverence.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 291)

Verse 9.  “Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby Thou didst confirm Thine inheritance, when it was weary.  Marching with the Lord God, in service to His dear Son, Jesus Christ, is a Divine privilege to be enjoyed by those whom the Lord God has, in His Sovereign will and Eternal purpose, called, and empowered by His Spirit to do so.  Yet, while engaged in this great march in Christ’s Spiritual army, we can get quite weary at times, thirsty for living water; and worn down by the ever-present oppositions of the world, our own weak, sin-prone flesh, and the Devil and his legions of vile tormentors.  At times like these, we cry out for the rains of God’s Heavenly refreshment.  The Lord always sends His ever-present help at such times.

“He giveth (gives, and continues to give) power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:29-31)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.  Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”  (Psalm 46:1-3)

Be of good cheer, downcast Reader of this Bible Lesson – you are not alone in “…the feelings of your infirmity…”  Your Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, has walked in a human body, experienced all that you and I experience, in a human body of flesh and bone.  He knows exactly what we need to sustain us for the Spiritual Battle, and for contending with the infirmities of our puny human flesh.  Have no fear, beloved friend, help is on the way.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  For (a conclusion) we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let is therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:14-16)

As we seek to march with the Almighty Lord God into Spiritual Battle daily - as regenerate, ‘born again’, Christians – we shall often grow weary, and disheartened, for the world is in a worse state today, in this ever-increasing apostate, anti-Christian, so-called politically correct world we live in, than ever I have experienced it in all my 76 years of life.

Spiritual weariness, or feeling in poverty of Spiritual power, is not an uncommon perception for militant, Bible-believing Christians today.  However, we must remember that it was our Spiritual poverty, or, our being ‘quickened’ to fully realise our Spiritual poverty – that commenced our journey of repentance from our sins, onto Salvation in Christ Jesus!

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs's is the Kingdom of Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:3)

God’s Kingdom was only prepared for us who were enlightened of the Lord God to know our desperate need of Christ’s Salvation.  Praise God it is so, beloved Reader! (Ephesians 2:1;5)

Verse 10: “Thou, O God, hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor.  Within the guarded circle, there was plenty for all; all were poor in themselves, yet there were no beggars in all the camp, for celestial fare was to be had for the gathering.  We, too, still dwell within the circling protection of the Most High, and find goodness made ready for us: although poor and needy by nature, we are enriched by grace; Divine preparations in the decree, and the Covenant, the Atonement, providence, and the Spirit’s work, have made ready for us a fullness of the blessing of the Lord.”  (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 291)

I have often heard it said that, ‘An army marches on its stomach’; meaning, you cannot have and march an army into war without first making absolute sure that you can feed that army with necessary food, in order to keep them healthy and fit for battle.

Similarly, Christ’s Spiritual army of Bible-believing Christians cannot be called out to march with the Almighty into Spiritual Battle without God providing the absolutely necessary Spiritual food to sustain them!  For this vital food, the Lord God has provided His Word.

Job said: “…I have esteemed the Words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”      (Job 23:12)

Thought: Verse 11. “The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it.  Oh for a like zeal in the church of today that when the Gospel is published, both men and women may eagerly spread the glad tidings of great joy.” (C.H. Spurgeon Treasury of David, page 291)