Have you ever felt rejected by God? Like God has turned his back on you? or maybe you even feel He is out to get you? In Psalm 60 we see David struggling with these feelings.
Psalm 60 is divided into three parts with the central verses, 6-8, being a promise spoken by God. The first two sections are also subdivided into two more sections. The overall flow of the psalm looks like this:
Rejection => Hope => Promise (Hope) => Rejection => Hope
After each statement about rejection we find a statement of hope with the promise, the foundation for David's hope, placed in the very center.
Another interesting feature of this psalm is that verses 5-12 are repeated in Psalm 108:6-13.
The heading of this psalm suggests that it was written right after a great victory - probably the military campaign recorded in 2 Samuel 10 and 1 Chronicles 19. But why is David claiming that God has rejected them, if they have just won a great victory?
We can only guess, but my premise is either that there were some great defeats, not recorded in scripture, that just preceded this victory or that they were loosing on some other battle front. I lean towards the first option and believe that this psalm was written purposely to contrast the victory (a fulfillment of the promise) with how he felt before the victory.
You Have Rejected Us
This section begins with the declaration that God has rejected them followed by 6 acts of God that demonstrate his rejection of them:
- Broken our defenses
- Been angry
- Made the land quake
- Torn the land open
- Made us see hard things
- Given us wine to make us stagger
But the 7th act of God suddenly switches the image to one of hope: "You have set up a banner" (Psalm 60:4). A banner was used to represented a group or even a nation and was a rallying point in battle. For David, God was his banner - David found his identity in God and under God's banner (protection) he had a place to run to and be safe.
In the chaos of a battle a soldier could look up and find a place to rally and find protection as a group. In the chaos of life we also have a banner we can look to for identity and hope: Christ.
David now quotes God's promise to Israel. David's hope is not in a vague belief that God will help him, but in a specific promise given by God. We do not know when David received this promise, but what is clear is that God has declared Israel as His people, under His banner, and Moab, Edom and Philistia as the defeated subjects.
As Christians we also have promises we can turn to and find hope. Here are just a few of the promises we can go to when we are struggling:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
This section ends by returning to the problem at hand. How can this promise be fulfilled if God continues to reject them?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go forth, O God, with our armies. Psalm 60:10
Please Help Us!
The answer is that God will not reject forever. God has made a promise and God will keep His promise. If we are believers, we are under the banner of Christ and our hope is in Him.
The final verse is one of confident hope that God will respond and rescue them.
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes. Psalm 60:12
David had hope because he was given a promise by God of victory.
We have hope because God "has granted to us his precious and very great promises" (1 Peter 1:4). God is your banner and you can trust in His strength. We are not promised freedom from pain, but we are promised God's strength and guidance in our struggles and and eternal life with Him.
God has not rejected you. Look to His promises and find hope under His banner.