“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 loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation” (KJV, Ps. 68:18-19).
“Thou hast ascended on high”
Father, I thank You for the opportunities that You give me to pray. You are an amazing God and deserving of much more devotion than I give to You. You have told me that my life is to be laid down on Your altar, but I see something else taking place in my heart. I am often overcome with my own pursuits and selfish gain. Father, I pray that You would forgive me for my sin and turn my heart back to You this day. I pray that I would look upon Christ with fresh eyes that are unstained and filled with Your glory.
I see that Christ has ascended on high, and in this statement, I gather many remarkable truths. You have sent Your Son to the earth, and for that, I am forever grateful. You sent Your Son to live among sinful man and to embrace the fallen world in which I live. Your Son gave up His glory with You and for a moment was made to be lower than the angels of heaven.
Nevertheless, I see Christ high and lifted up. I see the train of His robe filling the temple. I see Christ being lifted upon the clouds and ascending into heaven to sit at Your right hand.
“thou hast led captivity captive”
Father, I thank You that Jesus took me to be His captive. I needed to be rescued, and I needed to be conquered. I was a rebel. I bore my arms against Christ. I fought against Your will, plan, and army. I thought that there was no hope in this world, and I was truly at one time without God.
However, Christ came to the earth and won a great victory. Christ came to defeat the powers of darkness by which I was taken captive by a man much stronger than myself. I thank You that Christ has come and that in Christ, I have been won to Your side.
I cannot imagine what all Christ went through when He came to the earth. I cannot fathom His great love for me. But I can see that He desired that I would be His and that He has taken me to be His own.
“thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also”
I thank You that You would desire to gift me with a spiritual gift. I see that in Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and thus His victory over Satan and death, Christ has procured for me a gift that I am to use in the church. I see in the book of Acts a great outpouring of Your Spirit, and I see that one of the blessings of Pentecost is that, as a believer, I have a gift that I am to use within the church.
I also see that You have given gifts to the rebellious. I thank You, God, that You have decided to show me favor. I was once lost and was straying greatly from the path. But You saw fit to call me to Yourself and to gift me with a gift that I can use for Your glory and the good of others.
I pray that You would help me to know my gift. I pray that You would help me to use my gift. I recognize that I am to fan my gift into flame through its use.
“that the Lord God might dwell among them”
Father, what a blessing it is to see that You would desire to dwell among man. I see that in the book of Genesis, when You created mankind, You dwelt among them. I see that it has always been a desire of Yours to be among Your people. I see that the sin of Adam and Eve caused them to be driven away from Your presence.
However, You are a faithful God, and during the days of Moses, You established Your earthly throne. You dwelt among the wings of the cherubim and, maybe more importantly, among Your people. Your presence guided them by day and by night. Nevertheless, Your people sinned against You, and the glory of God departed from Your temple.
But I see in Christ the Word Who became flesh and dwelt among man. I see in Christ One Who would not let sin get the final say. Christ came to the earth to dwell among His people and to win a conclusive victory that could not be undone. When Christ died upon the cross, His death canceled the record of sin that stood against me. In Christ’s death, I can be near to You, and it can be said of me that You will never leave me nor forsake me.
I do not deserve You mercy toward me. I do not deserve Your grace. But thank You for wanting to dwell with me and I with You and for making this possible in Christ Jesus.
“Blessed be the Lord”
What more could be said but bless the Lord. Teach me to honor You with my mouth and in my heart. You are a wonderful God and the One true God. There is no God beside You, and there never will be. There has not been a God before You, and there will be none after You. You are the Creator, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are God, three Persons in One God.
I cannot understand the mysteries of the Godhead, but I can see that You are good and that You love me. You are beyond comprehension. You are the God Who has always been and is without a creator. You have existed throughout eternity and have existed outside of space and time. You are limitless, and Your Being has no bounds. You are all powerful. You can move mountains and create worlds with a mere word.
You are a God Who knows all things, sees all things, and searches the depths of man’s heart. You know me better than I know myself. You are already in my tomorrow before I get there, and You have been with me in my past.
“who daily loadeth us with benefits”
Thank You for Your abundance of love toward me. You have given me more than I could even know. Teach me to be thankful. Teach me to overflow with gratitude for Your work in my life. You have truly loaded me with benefits. You have given me Your Word, and in Your Word, I can know You. You have given me the gift of prayer, and through prayer, I am greatly assisted in this life. You have given me food to eat and shelter, and for these things, I am grateful.
You have given me the sun and the rain. You have given me the animals and the plants. You have given me Your Holy Spirit to be my Helper. You have given me a Great High Priest Who has made purification for sins. You have given me life and shown me how to live life abundantly in Christ.
“even the God of our salvation”
You are the God of my salvation, and in that, I rejoice. You are the God of my salvation, and in that, I give thanks. Cause my heart to be thankful. Teach me to never forget the work of Christ. Christ came and died for me, and in this, I must give thanks. Christ came and bore my sins upon the cross, and in this, I must give thanks.
In Christ, I am justified, redeemed, purified, and cleansed from sin. I have many reasons to give thanks, but I am sad to say that I do not give thanks as I ought. Fix my eyes upon my Savior, the humble King Who came riding on a donkey. Teach me to give thanks for the yoke that is easy and the burden that is light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.