VIII. THE CITY
Next we need to pray that God will strengthen that which He has wrought for us out of the church. “Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us out of thy temple” (vv. 28-29). God has wrought everything and all has been accomplished; what we need today is the strengthening. God has put Satan to death already. We do not need God to repeat this act, but we do need Him to strengthen us. God has put our self, our old man, on the cross already—God has wrought this, and He need not re-enact it. However, we do need God to strengthen this experience within us. The Bible tells us that we have ascended with Christ to the heavens—God has wrought this already. Today what we need is the strengthening of this experience within us. This strengthening is in the temple. It is in the local church that God does everything to strengthen what He has wrought for us. We must pray, “O God, strengthen what You have wrought for us out of Your temple!” We do not need a repetition, but we do need a strengthening. We need God to make all that He has wrought for us so real to us, out of His church, out of His dwelling place.
I cannot tell you how much strengthening of God I have enjoyed since being in the local church. In the house of God there is the strengthening of God Himself. We must stand upon this verse. God has wrought everything for us, and now He would strengthen all that He has wrought for us out of His house.
Then in verse 29 we read, “Unto Jerusalem (or, thy temple at Jerusalem) shall kings bring presents unto thee.” Now we encounter not only the temple, but also Jerusalem; not only the house, but also the city. We must understand this in a poetic way. When we experience the strengthening of God in the local church, the church is transformed from a house to a city. The temple becomes Jerusalem. The house is surrounded, protected, and safeguarded by the walls of the city. Then, because we are so victorious, so overcoming, so transcendent, we have the sense that all the kings of the earth shall bring presents to the Lord. Revelation 21:24 corroborates this word: “The kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it (the city).” I wish to add a further word here in the way of interpretation: If you are so victorious in the local churches, many presents will be brought in through you. What presents? Many souls, many persons, who will be released and brought by you into the local churches as presents to the Lord.
Verses 29 and 30: “From thy temple at Jerusalem, where kings shall bring presents to thee, rebuke the wild beasts of the reeds (in Egypt), the herd of bulls (the leaders), with the calves of the people; trample under foot those who lust for tribute money; scatter the peoples who delight in war.” From the house in the city, God rebukes the enemy. There is no need for God to fight the battle any longer; He simply rebukes His foes. He does it from the temple in the city, from the local church safeguarded by His strengthening. When God has a church which is not only a temple or a house, but also a city, a kingdom with His authority and majesty, He is able to rebuke His enemies and subdue all the nations. The local church as a city is the stepping-stone for the Lord to recover the entire earth.
IX. THE EARTH
Verses 31 and 32: “Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall haste to stretch out her hands unto God. Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah.” These two verses indicate how the whole earth will be gained by the Lord. Through the city the Lord recovers the earth. “O God, thou art awe-inspiring out of thy sanctuaries (today we may say that He is awe-inspiring out of the local churches); the God…is he who giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God” (v. 35).
These are the nine main points of Psalm 68: God’s move on this earth, His victory in Christ over all His enemies, Christ’s ascension after His victory, Christ’s receiving and giving of gifts, the building up of the house of God by the gifts, the enjoyment of God in the house as everything to us, loading us with good and applying His victory over all situations, our praises issuing from our enjoyment, the enlarging of the church from the house to the city, and eventually the recovery of the earth through the city. It is marvelous! This is the climax of all the Psalms.
(Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)