Psalm 60 is a great reminder for every Christian not to presume we are always walking with the Lord. We must be diligent to remain in constant communication with Him to be sure the direction we are going is the same as He is leading.
In this psalm, David is licking his wounds so-to-speak because his armies have suffered heavy casualties in their battle against Edom and Syria. David was a fearless warrior that had faced the enemy many times, more often than not with miraculous results. None of us can forget his boyhood when armed with just a slingshot and five smooth stones he was unafraid to face the mighty giant, Goliath. David would not accept for a moment that Israel’s armies should be shamed by a heathen Philistine.
I am sure the same attitude prevailed with David on many occasions, perhaps so many that he thought it was quite unnecessary to call on the Lord for victory. Apparently, this must have been the case in Psalm 60, for we see a man speaking with God after the fact rather than before. Like Samson, David arose and shook himself and said, “I will go out as at other times before,” and yet he did not know the Lord had departed.
No doubt this happens many times to us. We experience great spiritual highs when we feel very close to the Lord. Our tank is full and we think we can run on one spiritual filling forever. This is never the case in successful Christianity. Although we are encouraged to remember past victories for the sake of reminding ourselves that God is always able, we still must return to the Lord for constant refreshment. We are not told to cherish the memories of the past for the experiences alone. We are to get up and get back to the source of our power. Half the Christian battle is won if we just remember what we are supposed to do.
In this psalm, the enemy was never the real problem. If you will notice verse 7, God takes over the psalm. The cities of Israel belong to Him and He does with them as He pleases. The real clincher comes in verse 8 with the references to Israel’s enemies. What is Moab but a vessel for washing dirty feet? What is Edom but a place to tread upon and to put the necks of her kings under God’s feet? What is Philistia but a place of judgment that rises and falls only upon the good graces of God? The enemy is never a problem, only the symptom of lack of dependence on God.
So, David knew what to do. Defeat was not his place of usual habitation, and neither should it be for us. As soon as we feel that we and God are moving in different directions, we must get up and go back to Him. The good news is we can always return because He never forsakes us. Presumption is sin but God is faithful and just to forgive us of sin.
Never presume upon God. You need him more today than you did yesterday, and you realize this as you continue to grow in grace. Your spiritual growth parallels your dependence. God’s ways are not our ways—we think we are maturing by growing more independent. Keep thinking like that and you will watch every victory melt into defeat. God wants your dependence and He will have it. It is just a matter of how much it hurts before you realize it.
Pastor V. Mark Smith