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Sunday, October 6, 2013

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One of the difficult things about Psalm 60 is that a number of its Hebrew words can be translated differently, as is evidenced between the various English versions. It’s a Psalm that begins with a cry of despair and ends with a shout of triumph. With God on our side, even despair ends in triumph.

David opens with a startling accusation against God: “You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us.” And again, “You have shaken the land and torn it open.” And finally, “You have shown Your people desperate times; You have given us “the wine of confusion.” The wine of God’s wrath against His people has left them reeling like a drunkard.

You probably know what it’s like to have everything go wrong until you feel that God is nowhere near and your whole world is falling apart. Whatever has happened to cause David to express the belief that God has rejected His own people we don’t know. But his mood changes as he considers that God is still in control and still true to those He loves. The enemy that has done damage to Israel were only the instruments of God’s displeasure, and He will now restore what is lost and mend what is broken. He is the nation’s rallying point: “But for those who fear You, You have raised a banner to be unfurled”—like soldiers raise their flag to encourage their fighting comrades. As His people once again gather under His banner of truth (NKJV), He will rescue and rebuild them. David’s prayer is, “Save us and help us with Your right hand.” God’s “right hand” is frequently spoken of in the Scriptures as His arm of power that is moved to save and protect. Our faithful God assures us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10).

David has God’s own word, spoken in the integrity of His holiness, that the land of Israel is His possession. In fact, He owns the neighbouring countries too, the very ones who make frequent military incursions into Israel.  Yet there are massive challenges before David and his troops if they are to overcome their enemies. If you have visited the land of Israel, you will understand David’s question, “Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?” He knows that the impossible can only be attained if God goes with them once again; he is confident of success: “With God we shall gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.”

Things may be looking bad for you right now; you may even wonder if God is still with you and still working out His purposes for you. But where else can you turn for help? Let your feelings of rejection and abandonment be supplanted by the assurance that, in the heat of your personal battle, God is calling you to His banner; He is waving His powerful right arm over your surrounding circumstances.  He will indeed put a song of victory in your mouth. You can start singing His song already, for the victory is certain.

 

Garth Bainbridge
Ministerial Director
Greater Sydney Conference
Australia