Psalm 60 Commentary

You probably want to read this psalm from the  introductory notes. David is sitting on Israel’s throne. And he has mounted a successful military campaign that includes Joab’s victory over the Edomites in the Valley Of Salt.

Yet the color of the psalm is more complaining than praise. The tone seems to dwell on the psalmist’s petition to the LORD to do more. And the reason is simple: the victory is too sweet to let go of. What is more is the fact that Israel can now see just how much behind they are in terms of actualizing the history-long mandate.

The nation was birthed to be a blessing to the nations. Along the way the saviour nation was enslaved and needed rescue. The occupation of Canaan was an act of saving Israel and settling them down in some Eden-like piece of land. The occupation also served an important function of cleansing the land of horrible idolatry.

As the psalm openly suggests, Israel is far from this point. Instead, the nation is back in chains and must be saved. The psalmist sees this victory in the light of God’s promise to Abraham. The LORD has finally installed a flag to march into enemy territory and repossess the land. He is hungry for more victory.

Only the saved soul knows how deep the need  is for more salvation. The cry within for more righteousness increases with each little step towards sanctification. And the LORD doesn’t help matters by increasing standards at each point. There is Edom and Philistia yet to be conquered. Don’t relax.

So the battle rages on. The saint becomes hungrier. Let the LORD achieve more victory. “You have shown your people desperate times.” You have shown us dry places in our lives that need fixing. “Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered.”

Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. Verse 11. You don’t want to hear your military commander say things like that. It means he lacks confidence. He doesn’t trust his own plans. He is also saying your involvement in the campaign is useless. But he is right. Only God can bring you victory.

Salvation doesn’t come by human effort. Every smart saint knows this. But we also know we can ask the LORD to help us.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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