You have rejected us, O God, and broken our defenses. You have been angry with us; now restore us to your favor. (Psalm 60:1)
Relate: In some Bibles right before reading today’s verse you might see something like this:
For the choir director: A psalm of David useful for teaching, regarding the time David fought Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah, and Joab returned and killed 12,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. To be sung to the tune “Lily of the Testimony.”
This is the “footnote” preceding Psalm 60 and it intrigued me thanks to my obsessive compulsive love of history. I first looked to other scripture but the little I found (2 Samuel 8:13) did not really add much. From there I went digging through the internet (legitimate sources, not wikipedia or some such nonsense) to see what I could see.
Basically David was fighting the Aram-Naharaim, this was a people group geographically covering all of modern day Kurdistan south the Tigris River, and Aram-Zobah, Northern Lebanon area from Sidon and Arvad (modern Tripoli) along the coast over to Damascus. While he was fighting these enemies to the North, apparently Edom tried to invade from the south. Joab went off, fought them, and killed 12,000 Edomites. Israel was fighting four enemies on three sides simultaneously and winning overwhelming victories on every front. You could almost say this was a precursor to the short war in 1948 (or ’67, or ’73).
React: When it rains it pours. How often does it seem that when things start to go wrong in my life, it happens on every front? It is never just family troubles, or just getting sick, or just work frustrations, is it? It always seems to be everything at once. It seems like the physical, and emotional, and spiritual defenses in my life all start coming down at the same time.
David understood. He was there. He recognized that the multifront war He was fighting was only happening because God allowed it. His cry, “restore us” was a legitimate desperate need that resonates in my heart when the storms of my life start raging. But this is a teaching Psalm. It starts with a cry for help but it ends… “With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.” The same story when read in 2 Samuel 8 finishes up: “In fact, the Lord made David victorious wherever he went.” If your situation is not good, then it is not finished. When it is, if you have relied on God, you will be able to say the same.
In those moments when the world seems to be crashing down upon me, You are my shelter. I know You allow trials and difficulties in my life to break down and tear away that which is in me that is not of You. Help me to learn the lesson You teach through trials as quickly as possible that I might be restored. Even though defeat might seem inevitable in the moment, let me not forget that with You, victory is always assured.