You Have Rejected Us, God, Now Restore Us

Psalm 60: 1-12

For the director of music. To the tune of the lilies. A miktam of David. For teaching.
When he fought Aram Naharaim and Aram Zobah, and when Joab returned
and struck down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

DIG: While David was securing his borders on the far Northeast corner of his kingdom, Edom attacked on the on the far south. How did David respond to this behind-the-back blow (Second Samuel 8:13-14)? Why does David blame God for Isra’el’s defeat? Armies raise a banner to regroup fleeing, disorganized soldiers. For whom does the LORD raise a banner (Psalm 60:4)? Why? How do you account for the confident tone of Psalm 60:5? What did ADONAI promise (Psalm 60:6-8)? What was Daivd’s growing sense of hope (Psalm 60:9-12)? What is David’s part and Ha’Shem’s part in this upcoming battle?

REFLECT: Are you in the valley of despair right now? What serves as God’s rallying banner for you? What “Edom” is attacking you now from your blind side? What lesson in this psalm can help you face problems head on? Do believe that the LORD can carry you through any hardship? Any tragedy? Can you think of a time when He has sustained you through such times before? How are the battles that believers have to face different from the wars of ADONAI during the Dispensation of Torah? How are they similar?

992 BC

Throughout the TaNaKh there are peaks and valleys. For example, ADONAI would come in a mighty way to Abraham, Moshe, or David. Later, however, they would fall into the valleys of disobedience, presumption, or adultery. At times, Isra’el would experience great revivals, such as Josiah’s reign. This would often be followed by the valley of disaster.

Psalm 60 begins in the valley of despair. Isra’el’s armies were defeated. YHVH had not accompanied her into battle. Therefore, the psalmist feels rejected and the people have seen desperate times and drank wine that made them stagger. Nevertheless, there was hope. There was a banner raised for those who fear God. The sovereign LORD would rescue Isra’el with the might of His right hand. A peak was just around the corner when Ha’Shem would retake the Land the surrounding territories. Then ADONAI will march to Edom and God will trample down the enemies of Isra’el.299

A. Rejection: You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us; you have been angry – now restore us! The military disaster that lies behind this lament is described as it were a natural disaster. You have shaken the Land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. You have shown Your people desperate times. Her army had been routed and her Land occupied – desperate indeed.Moreover, You have given us wine that makes us stagger. This cup, according to Isaiah 51:17, is the cup of God’s wrath, the goblet that makes people stagger. Indeed, Ha’Shem had judged His people. (Psalm 60:1-3).

B. Confidence of Victory: Nevertheless, ADONAI has not abandoned His people in the midst of the disaster; His love is greater than His judgment. So for those who fear You, You have raised a banner so that they might seek safety from the bow (Psalm 60:4). The LORD raised a banner (Isaiah 5:26, 13:2; Jeremiah 4:6) designating a place where the godly may find refuge under the protection of the divine Warrior. The godly, those who fear Him, will find protection from the attacks of the enemy, who are symbolized by the bow.300 And the Selah at the end of verse 4 suggests that the tale of disasters continued up to this point, leaving verse 5 to speak the first word of hope.301

C. David’s Prayer: Save us, and help us with Your right hand, that those You love may be delivered. (Psalm 60:5). The familiar cry of the lament songs is save us. The people pray to be saved out of their desperate situation. The people ask for nothing less than divine intervention in avenging the enemy and vindicating the righteous of the TaNaKh. The basis for their petition is the promise of ADONAI to His people. Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields [them] all day long, and [those] the LORD loves rests in His heart (Deuteronomy 33:11).

C. ADONAI’s Response: God now declares His sovereignty over the Land, no matter how much of it has been ravaged by enemies. He has spoken from His sanctuary in heaven. It is YHVH who divides the Land. And as a property owner surveying his land God claims: In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth. Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine.” Ephraim represents the northern tribes and Judah represents the southern tribes; hence, all the tribes share in God’s rule over the nations. Ephraim is My helmet, symbolic for force and Judah is My scepter, symbolic of dominance. Mo’av is my washbasin. The picture of Mo’av as coming with a washbasin for the divine Warrior to wash His feet represents Mo’av’s subjugation to servant status. Edom also will be defeated by Ha’Shem, as implied by the idiom I toss My sandal. Finally, over Philistia I shout in triumph (Psalm 60:6-8). Every nation would submit to His rule (see Cx – David’s Victories). So whatever temporary reverses Isra’el had suffered due to divine judgment, God will rejoice to reclaim His Land and its surrounding territories. He is still on the throne.302

A. Rejection: David asks ADONAI to lead him in victory. He asks: Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? The response takes the form of another question: Is it not You, God, You who have now rejected us and no longer go out with [Isra’el’s] army? This implies that David believed that Ha’Shem’s rejection would continue. Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless (Psalm 60:9-11). The experience of divine rejection brings out renewed faith and confidence in the LORD. David was not looking for a military solution to his problems, such as alliances with other kings, because he knows that any “help” that they might give would be completely worthless. He looks to the divine Warrior, who had abandoned His people, in the hope that He would bring about the victory over the enemy.

B. Confidence of Victory: With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies (Psalm 60:12). As Moshe and the Israelites sang after they had safely crossed the Sea of Reeds after being hunted down by Pharaoh’s army: I will sing to ADONAI, for He is highly exalted: the horse and rider He threw into the sea. Yah is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation. This is my god: I will glorify Him; my father’s God, I will exalt Him. ADONAI is a warrior; ADONAI is His name (Exodus 15:1-3). Here is the confidence of divine protection that flows over into confidence in victory. ADONAI’s Response in verses 6-8 was enough to inspire David not to fear the enemy or to be troubled by a setback. God was still with Isra’el and He would bring her through this adversity with renewed strength and joy.303

In Psalm 60 we see a valley in Isra’el’s life. God had cut off her armies and she had been defeated by the Edomites. At the same time, He was still true to His Covenant (see Ct – The LORD’s Covenant with David). He would protect His people, reclaim His Land and lead her troops again to victory in Edom. Isra’el would be restored . . . a peak was just around the corner.

In our walk with the Lord we also have our valleys. We experience defeat and feel that God is distant. He, however, offers us refuge, reclaims our lives and promises to be with us in the future. When Catherine Marshall’s husband Peter, the famous Scottish preacher (1940-2010), suffered a heart attack, he whispered to his wife as he was carried from the house, “See you in the morning, darling.” Those were his last words. Later, they took on a different meaning. Indeed the morning will come. We go through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4), but after our night in this world, the morning dawns. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror dimly; then we shall see Him face to face (First Corinthians 13:12). This will be our final peak.304

 

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