November 17, 2020 – Tuesday
Psalm 60:11-12 NIV
11 Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.
12 With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.
This is a real change of subject brought about by Monday evening’s Bible Study where eight of us discussed the twelve verses of Psalm 60 for over an hour. The Psalm is about King David turning to God and acknowledging his need for God’s help if he is to win the battles he faces. Military might was simply not enough. Nor was planning or superior strategy. Nothing is sufficient without God on your side.
That is what David is explicitly saying in the last two verses above, our verses for the day. In fact Guzik quotes Spurgeon on these two verses saying, Divine working is not an argument for human inaction, but rather it is the best excitement for courageous effort. Making allies with other nations will not work either. Israel tried that a number of times in the Old Testament while ignoring God and it always failed. David acknowledges in the four verses that his military setbacks were the result of God abandoning him and his military efforts while asking God to restore us again!
Many of us in the Bible Study have military backgrounds and seemed to have a grasp of the Psalm, but one young woman with no military background provided the following insight, Too often we forget (and leaders, military and otherwise forget) God is the supreme General and no one outranks Him and He is the One who must always be called upon.
This brought to mind for me thoughts of two earthly supreme generals who won great wars. Dwight D. Eisenhower who won World War II for the free world and Ulysses S. Grant who won the Civil War between the states to maintain the union. I didn’t share these thoughts with the others, but I wondered if each man spent much time in prayer asking for guidance from God. One website quotes Dwight Eisenhower as saying, I am the most intensely religious man I know…nobody goes through six years of war without faith and Since the day of creation, the fondest hopes of men and women have been to pass on to their children something better than they themselves enjoyed. That hope represents a spark of the Divine which is implanted in every human breast. There are many contradictory opinions on Ulysses S. Grant’s faith, but here are a few quotes from him found here, I believe in the Holy Scriptures, and whoso lives by them will be benefited thereby. Men may differ as to the interpretation, which is human, but the Scriptures are man’s best guide… and Yes, I know, and I feel very grateful to the Christian people of the land for their prayers in my behalf. There is no sect or religion, as shown in the Old or New Testament, to which this does not apply.
Another member, in the Bible Study, noted in verses 6-8 where God was speaking from His sanctuary, He used the words mine and my a total of six times making clear His dominance over Israel and Israel’s enemies.
6 God has spoken from His sanctuary: “In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth.
7 Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim is My helmet, Judah is My scepter.
8 Moab is My washbasin, on Edom I toss My sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph. (underlining added)
Before concluding, I would add a note from Guzik, The victories described in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles do not mention the kind of setbacks lamented in the Psalm. It reminds us that the historical record often condenses events, and that the successes were real, yet not always immediate. Others in our Bible Study pointed out all too often we go through life without calling on God until our own individual efforts fail. Then suddenly we remember to call upon God and ask His blessings on our efforts. This short heartfelt Psalm is a clear reminder we should be calling on God to bless our efforts daily as well as directing our efforts. Thinking we can do without God because of our own capabilities leads us down a fool’s path and eventual failure.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Thank you for this reminder from David to always turn to You for guidance, wisdom and a reminder not to think we can simply take care of things on our own. As the verses for the day indicate, effort is still required on our part as well, but our efforts are only blessed by You if they are in Your will. Help us to remain in Your will with all of our efforts. – In Jesus name. Amen.