THAT GOD WOULD DWELL AMONG US
Psa. 68:18 You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the LORD God might dwell there.
The Bible is powerful, absolutely full of revelation. Just when you think you understand a passage, The Lord sends a ray of His revealing light giving you new insight into His word. That’s how today’s verse has been for me. The obvious meaning in this passage is its reference to the ascension of Jesus Christ. When He ascended, He gave gifts to men. This verse goes on to unfold some powerful truth. In it we see captivity being taken captive. What could that mean? Could it be that our enemy has been defeated? Could it be that the Old Testament saints who died in faith were freed from their captivity? Could it mean that the His sons and daughters in this age have been freed from their captivity? I say yes, yes, and yes. The Old Testament believers ascended with Christ to their glorious reward, the enemy has been stripped of his power against us, and those of us that are alive and remain are experiencing the freedom that comes from the power of His presence. He has set the captives free. Check out Barnes thoughts on this verse.
“That the Lord God might dwell among them – literally, ” For the dwelling of Jah, God.” The idea is, that he had achieved such a triumph; he had so brought the rebellious under subjection to himself, that he could take up his abode with them, or dwell with them as his people. His rule could be extended over them, and they would acknowledge him as their sovereign. This would be applicable to a people in ancient times that had been subdued by the people of God. It might now be properly applied, also, to sinners who by the power of truth have been so subdued as to submit to God. It is applicable to all who have been conquered by the Gospel – whose enmity has been slain – who have been changed from enemies to friends – so that the Lord may dwell in their hearts, or rule over them. This passage is applied by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:8 to the Messiah, not as having original reference to him, but as suggesting language which would appropriately express the nature of his work, and the glory of his triumph.”
Barnes brings out the amazing purpose of God’s work of redemption, that He would literally dwell among us. That has been His plan all along. Our sins have separated us from God from the beginning, ever since our first parents ate from the tree God has removed Himself from us. After His work of redemption all of that changed. Our sins have been taken away, captivity has been captured, and Christ has come to live among us. This helps us understand what redemption, what the Bible is all about. It is about more than forgiveness of sins and heaven. Redemption is about Christ living in the midst of His people.