Psalm 60 is written by David sometime in the earlier part of King David’s reign. It records David’s victories over Philistia, Moab, Syria, Ammon, Edom and Amalek. The victories described in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles do not mention the kind of setbacks lamented in this Psalm. It reminds us that the historical record often condenses events, and that the successes were real, yet not always immediate. David makes it clear that the eventual victories were not always immediate and often come after some major challenges.
“O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us”. David reminds God of all He has done:
- “You have made the land to quake
- you have torn it open; repair its breaches
- You have made your people see hard things
- you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger
- You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow”
David doesn’t claim victory due to his own efforts. He recognizes all that God has done to allow him victory.
David claims his victory. The banner is about David’s recognition that he fights under God’s flag. The concept of the banner was connected to Israel’s reliance upon God and His victory for them. He claims victory over….”Shechem and portion out the Vale of Succoth….Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet; Judah is my scepter. Moab is my washbasin; upon Edom I cast my shoe; over Philistia I shout in triumph”. Both Moab and Edom were noted for their pride but here God gives them a place of humble service.
David knows that victory is his only if God fights the battle. “Oh, grant us help against the foe, for vain is the salvation of man! With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes”. David knew they would fight, but fight through God. Their fighting through God would be brave and valiant, and in it they would see God tread down their enemies. The Psalm that began in defeat would end in victory. That’s how God works. It’s when we learn to depend on Him, to trust completely in Him, to let Him be our victory that we can experience all that God is!