Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us?
And will You not go forth with our armies, O God?
O give us help against the adversary,
For deliverance by man is in vain.
Psalm 60:10-11 (NASB)
Hymn: "The Lord Will Come and Not Be Slow" John Milton
Today's reading was not entirely coherent. It was much harder for me to see a common thread among even most of it than usual. This happens sometimes, and usually the result is that I just don't post a devotional that day. There's no point in wasting space if I have nothing to say. But today, Psalm 60:11 in particular jumped out at me. It may have something to do with the nature of this book I'm reading during Advent, I don't know. I just know that I wanted to talk about it.
Psalm 60 is a bit strange at a glance. The context at the beginning is longer than a lot of psalms, and the psalm itself cries out to God for rejecting Israel while at the same time acknowledging that God is and will be with Israel. How can David say with one breath that God has rejected the people and then turn around and say in the very next line that He will go forth with the army of the people? Had God, at this point, rejected Israel or had He chosen to side with them?
The context is traditionally held to be the events of 2 Samuel 8 and 1 Chronicles 18, in which David conquered a great deal of surrounding land and established his rule over those who had been enemies of Israel in ages past. There is no indication in these passages of God rejecting Israel, though. Maybe David is referring to some defeat that is not described in those chapters, as they are basically just brief overviews. The point is, however, that David is aware of a point at which Israel does not have God's favor, and is still seeing the promise of the Lord to be with Israel being played out. This brings us to verse 11. David is confident by this point that God will bring deliverance, and not only that, but that the deliverance of God is far beyond what any mortal hands can provide, and that it is visible even when the favor of God is not with His people.
I know this is not what David is talking about, specifically, but the wording of verse 11 reminded me of the point of Christ's coming in the first place. Because mankind had made ourselves enemies of God, He had rightfully rejected us--but His desire was still for us, and as such, He still stepped in to lead the battle against our greatest adversary and provided deliverance in a situation where our own attempts to deliver ourselves would have been in vain. God's opposition to us, due to our rebellion against Him, was intimately tied to His act of deliverance on our behalf. We cannot see the coming of Christ clearly without understanding both aspects of this.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation