Read: Psalm 60; 1 Samuel 8:3. 13; 1 Chronicles 18:3 – 12
This psalm reflects a military conflict the ultimate result of which was a famous victory, characterized in the phrase, “The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.” Yet the content of the psalm is the experience of a staggering, unexpected defeat. The ultimate victory was the only aspect of these military campaigns that got recorded in 1 Samuel and the Chronicles. Only Psalm 60 preserves the memory of a temporary defeat along the road to victory.
Think About It: What parallels are there to this experience in the history of our nation? In my personal life?
Prayer: Thank God for the ultimate victory in spite of temporary setbacks.
Read: Psalm 60:1 – 3, 10
Psalm 60:1 – 3 records what the temporary defeat felt like. We don’t know the details, only the impact of the defeat, which was devastating. These verses reflect loss, being fractured, shook up, staggered, and feeling rejected and abandoned by God.
Think About It: Have I ever experienced a sense of loss of this magnitude? Have I ever wondered where God was in the midst of tragedy?
Prayer: For faith to see God even when my world is shaken and I am staggered by events.
Read: Psalm 60:4 – 5, 9 – 11 (read in various translations including King James)
These verses reflect what we need from God in desperate times. Verse 4 pictures the raising of a banner in the confusion of battle, so that the forces of God can rally around that banner. The King James translates “the banner of truth,” a comforting image. It is not wishful thinking that calls us together in the confusion, but the call of God’s truth.
Think About It: What would be an example of a “banner of truth” in a time of trouble? What are other things that we need from God in desperate times, according to these verses?
Prayer: For God’s help in whatever trouble I or my loved ones are facing.
Read: Psalm 60:6 – 8, 12; Ephesians 1:3 – 6
Psalm 60 verses 6 – 8 reveal that God was firmly in command of the situation. He parceled out territory at will; the tribes of Israel belonged to Him and had places of honor (they were His helmet and scepter); He held His enemies in contempt. Psalm 60 verse 12 envisions God providing victory over our enemies.
Think About It: Why is it so important to understand the sovereignty of God in desperate times? How can I be sure that my enemies are God’s enemies? How do I know that I enjoy a place of honor in God’s sight?
Prayer: Thank God for the privilege of my position in Christ and for the confidence of victory I have because of His sovereign power.
Read: Psalm 60:1- 4; Ecclesiastes 8:14; Esther 8:16 – 17, 9:20 – 22
We need perspective on tragedy and loss. The experience of loss as recorded in Psalm 60 seemed overwhelming at the time; ultimately the victory was so overwhelming that the details of the loss were not even recorded. When we feel stunned by unexpected loss, it is good to remember that there is more to war than one battle.
Think About It: What is “ultimate victory” for me?
Prayer: For perspective on life’s unexpected losses.
Read: Psalm 60:6 – 8; Luke 12:32
When we are stunned, when we have been made to drink the “wine of astonishment,” we need to look to God. We need to hear Him speak from His sanctuary and we need to see Him as completely in control, cherishing His people and holding His enemies in contempt.
Think About It: How do we hear God speak today? What makes me doubt that God is in control of things? What would help me see that God is in charge?
Prayer: For the ability to hear and see God when the storms of life are raging; for faith to trust in His sovereign power.
Read: Psalm 60:5, 11 – 12; Jeremiah 29:11 – 14
When God shows us desperate times we need to call on Him and ask Him for what we need. In the words of Psalm 60, we need salvation, deliverance, direction, leadership, aid against the enemy, victory.
Think About It: “In the middle of the journey of my life, I found myself in a dark wood: I had wandered from the straight path. . . ” (Dante, Inferno, Canto I). Where or when have I lost my way so that I need God’s direction and leadership? What opposition do I need God’s help to overcome?
Prayer: for God’s help – what I need, where I need it most.