The Promise of Revival (4)
Who will bring me to the strong city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
Is it not You, O God, who cast us off?
And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies?
Give us help from trouble,
For the help of man is useless.
Through God we will do valiantly,
For it is He who shall tread down our enemies. Psalm 60.9-12
In the balance
David was feeling as though he was in the balance with God in this psalm. He had been struggling against a powerful enemy, and, even though Joab achieved significant victories, David was feeling that, for his part, and those who were with him, God had rejected and abandoned them.
Why? David knew this wasn’t true, but he was feeling very strongly this way nevertheless. Enemies were on every hand, streaming through breaches in the Israelite lines, dividing the armies of the Lord, and jeopardizing the safety and wellbeing of the nation.
But David remembered both the promise and past works of God (vv. 6-8). He had promised to give all the land of Canaan to His people, and significant progress had been achieved under Joshua and since. The banner of God’s promises still flew over the nation of Israel (v. 4), and as David and his armies sheltered under that irrevocable Word, they would overcome their foes, capture the fortified city of their enemies, do valiantly, and gain the victory (vv. 9-12).
In our day, many are expressing concern that the enemies of Lord are taking aim at His Church. In certain parts of the world – China, Cuba, India, and throughout the Muslim world – that aim takes the form of violent persecution, including beatings, imprisonment, and martyrdom. In other parts, the enemies are less aggressive, but just as determined. They seek to block our freedom as witnesses by prohibiting religious speech in educational institutions and at public events. They insist that religion is a private, personal matter, and ought not be raised in the public square or the university classroom. They try to force the people of God to do business in ways that compromise their faith and convictions. Some Christian leaders fear even further restrictions on our freedoms as followers of Jesus Christ.
Not all of these fears are well-founded. Indeed, some are misguided or exaggerated, and only show that we’re seeking to shelter under the banner of “religious freedom” – a secular notion – rather than under the banner of Christ and His Kingdom, come what may. Some may be real, but we can only effectively resist them with the Sword of the Spirit, rather than the sword of the State.
It seems to many that God is leaving us to languish in the seas of secularism and sectarianism. Who will lead us forward for the Kingdom and glory of God? Who will show us the way to overcome all our foes – especially those spiritual forces of wickedness in high places – so that we can make daily progress in our campaign for the coming of the Kingdom? Who will show us the way?
Remember the promises of God
One of the purposes of such psalms as this is to remind us of the work God has done in the past, and all that such work promises concerning our times and beyond. In the midst of his desperate situation, David was reminded of God’s promise to give the land to Israel, to arm and defend His people in all their struggles, and to lead them to shouts of triumph over their foes.
Our Lord Jesus has told us that the meek and righteous will inherit the earth (Matt. 5.5; cf. Ps. 37.9, 11). The Gospel will be preached to all peoples (Lk. 24.46-49). God has unfurled the banner of His promises over us. His banner over us is love (Song 2.4), and it signals the victory of God’s salvation over all our spiritual foes and all the nations of the earth (Jer. 50.1, 2). We need to flee to that banner (v. 4), claiming the promises of God – as we see in Psalm 67 – and living toward those promises faithfully, day by day.
God has been faithful to His promises throughout the course of Christian history. When times have seemed bleak and foreboding, and enemies were threatening on every hand, God has turned the eyes and hearts of His people to His precious and very great promises, so that, drawing on the power of the indwelling Christ, believers have overcome all manner of opposition to spread the Good News of the Kingdom throughout their world. Roman persecution could not stop the Gospel. Fanatic Celtic paganism was helpless before a freed slave and the Word of the Gospel he brought to Ireland in the 5th century. Cultural sclerosis and ecclesiastical bondage could not keep the Gospel from breaking out with fresh power during the age of reformation. Dying and complacent churches, and status quo pastors could not prevent the First and Second Great Awakenings from bringing multitudes to Christ and realizing significant moral and cultural improvements.
When God’s people acknowledge their desperate need, repent of their sins, remember His great works in the past, and flee to the banner of His promises, He appears in their midst to lead them forward to greater progress in Kingdom righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Praying Psalm 60 for revival
Use this psalm to review God’s precious and very great promises (Gen. 12.1-3), and to remember that all these promises are ours in Jesus Christ, if we will turn from our worldly ways and embrace Him wholly (2 Pet. 1.4; 2 Cor. 1.20).
Just as David remembered the Personal Mission Field assigned to Israel – Shechem, Gilead, Manasseh, Moab, Edom, and the rest – lay out your own Personal Mission Field before the Lord every day. Call on Him to equip you with the weapons you will need to defeat the devil – who will lie to you every day by telling you that it’s not necessary for you to be a witness for Christ or to bring holiness to completion in your life (Acts 1.8; 2 Cor. 7.1). He will tell you that every day, until you wield the Sword of the Spirit against him, strap on the breastplate of faith and obedience, and buckle the chinstrap on the helmet of your great salvation (cf. Eph. 6.10-20). He will flee from you when you resist his lies, and then you can go out each day into your Personal Mission Field, carrying the banner of Christ and His promises, and seek His Kingdom and righteousness in every aspect of your life.
Christians are continually under siege. The enemy deploys strategies and tactics against us all day long. He will stream through every breach in your soul, unless you fortify yourself with prayer, repentance, and the determination to follow Jesus into the fray. With God you can do valiantly! He will tread down your enemies, and through you, spread the liberating power and love of the Gospel unto revival, renewal, and awakening.
Make sure you head out each day under the right banner, and look to the Lord to help you do valiantly for Christ and His Kingdom.
1. How would you define your own Personal Mission Field? Does the devil want you to think about your life this way?
2. Why is it important that we flee to the banner of God’s covenant promises every day (Gen. 12.1-3)?
3. What will it look like as God does valiantly through you today?
Next steps – Transformation: Spend the next few days praying Psalm 60 at various times during the day.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.