Psalm 60

The Psalms

Psalm 60
Get up and fight back!

Psalms index

Psalm 60

1 For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lily of the Covenant”. A miktam of David. For teaching. When he fought Aram Naharaim and Aram Zobah, and when Joab returned and struck down twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; you have been angry—now restore us! 2 You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. 3 You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.

4 But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow. Selah 5 Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered. 6 God has spoken from his sanctuary: “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Succoth. 7 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my sceptre. 8 Moab is my washbasin, upon Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

9 Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom? 10 Is it not you, O God, you who have rejected us and no longer go out with our armies? 11 Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. 12 With God we shall gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.


Psalm 60 – Get up and fight back!

(Verses 1-3) Psalm 60 shows how to take defeat, trust God to put things right, and come back to win. Joab and his brother, Abishai, led King David’s troops, so David (as king), Joab and Abishai are each rightly said to have killed the 12,000 Edomites. See 2 Samuel 8:13, the title here, and 1 Chronicles 18:12. In 2 Samuel 8:13 a better manuscript text rightly states ‘Edomites’ rather than ‘Syrians’.

While David fought in the north, the Edomites invaded and overcame southern Judah, which caused great distress to David and his men. They think God has, in anger, rejected them by this defeat. They, picture it as a great earthquake which shakes the land, tears it apart, and breaks it up. The news of that staggering defeat affects them as if it was alcohol. They feel stupefied about these ‘desperate times’. Sometimes Christians face unexpected setbacks, hard to understand or accept.

(Verses 4-8) So learn how David and his men respond to defeat and do the same when you fail. The truly God-fearing men among them take this defeat as a ‘banner to be unfurled’ against the enemy. It spurs them to fight back. What a good response to failure! They pray to God, ‘Save us and help us’ and remind Him that because He loves them, He should deliver them. They believe His promises of victory and remind Him of them. They still regard Shechem, the Valley of Succoth, Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah as God’s and theirs. Moab, one traditional enemy, is regarded merely as being their washbowl, which a lowly servant gives them. David will ‘toss [his] sandal’ on his continual foe, Edom, as a Master would throw his dirty sandals to his servant to clean. He warns Philistia, an early and frequent foe of David, that Israel will conquer them with shouts of victory!

Do you remember the triumph cry of Jesus as He died on the cross to bear your sins and their punishment? It was ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30) meaning ‘paid in full’ or ‘accomplished’. All your sins were paid for by His perfect sacrifice in your place. If you repent from your sins, the way is open for you to ask the now resurrected and living Jesus to save you.

(Verses 9-12) David confidently asks God, despite the recent defeat, for His help. Man cannot help. They ‘will gain the victory’ and overcome their foes. You can win, now and in Heaven, by trusting Jesus!