Let God arise and His enemies be scattered – Psalm 67 (68)

This Psalm as a whole is a foretelling of the Resurrection, and no verse conveys this more than the first verse: “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered: let them also that hate Him flee before Him”. This verse is recited before the chanting of “Christ is Risen” at the midnight Easter service, highlighting how this verse is to be seen within the Orthodox tradition.

It is, however, worthwhile to examine this Psalm’s context in order to better understand both it and the Resurrection. The first use of the opening verse was by Moses, while wandering in the desert for forty years. This phrase was used whenever the Ark of the Covenant was to be moved (Numbers 10:34). This verse is triumphant because God is leading the way through the Ark. This is a foretaste of the triumph of the Resurrection and the destruction of Hades.

In a Paschal Epistle, St John of Shanghai and San Francisco writes: “Scattering and dispersing the dark and gloomy tempest of sin, Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shone forth, gleaming not in the hearts and souls of the Apostles only, but in those of all who draw near to Him with faith, seeking salvation.”

In the Old Testament, the enemies to be scattered and destroyed were the Canaanite nations. In our lives, the enemy to be scattered is sin. Yet oftentimes, it is we who are scattered by sin. We need God to rise again within: “Come together, ye who are scattered!” writes St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, “Arise, ye fallen! Although your soul may be filled with evils and your life has drawn near to hell, may the storm of the sea of life not engulf you, who are in sorrows.” Thus, the Psalm conveys hope in the triumphant risen Christ.


Source: Lychnos April – May 2019