Psalm 60: For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lily of the Covenant.” A miktam of David. For teaching. When he fought Aram Naharaim and Aram Zobah, and when Joab returned and struck down twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking.
You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.
Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered.
God has spoken from his sanctuary:
“In triumph I will parcel out Shechem
and measure off the Valley of Sukkoth.
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin,
on Edom I toss my sandal;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
Who will bring me to the fortified city? Who will lead me to Edom?
Is it not you, God, you who have now rejected us and no longer go out with our armies?
Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless.
With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.
Whoa, whoa. God’s throwing His shoes at part of a country? Thank goodness there’s a much more beautiful meaning in these words of David. The psalm is subtitled “for teaching”, and he’s right—we can learn much about the promises of God from these unusual phrases. Shechem, Sukkoth, Moab, Edom, and Philistia were all rebellious areas, committed to pagan ways and uprisings against God’s people. In direct contrast to these, Gilead, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah were where the people of God lived (often uncomfortably with the attacks of the enemy), and David praised God for promising to turn these areas redemptively into places that God could work through to accomplish His purposes.
God’s thoughts about His people are kind and merciful—He honors and protects those who belong to Him, and turns places that are rebellious into nothing.
Matthew Henry writes about this chapter a simple phrase: “Hope in God is the best principle of true courage.” As you and I see areas of our lives and world that hold out in rebellion against God, we can be assured of the heart of God based on this chapter. He knows where His people dwell, and He gives favor and protection to those areas that are submitted to Him. We may see people and places rising up against God, but we can be assured that God will ultimately have the victory, and will give His people honor and grace.