OUR HELP, OUR HOPE
You are always with me, Father, no matter what my circumstance, even when I don’t sense your presence. Help me to trust in your faithfulness, to stand on your promises, and testify to your goodness.
Read PSALM 60
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Lily of the Covenant.” A miktam[b] of David. For teaching. When he fought Aram Naharaim[c] and Aram Zobah,[d] and when Joab returned and struck down twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
1 You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us;
you have been angry—now restore us!
2 You have shaken the land and torn it open;
mend its fractures, for it is quaking.
3 You have shown your people desperate times;
you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
4 But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner
to be unfurled against the bow.[e]
5 Save us and help us with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered.
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.”
9 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
10 Is it not you, God, you who have now rejected us
and no longer go out with our armies?
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.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘O God, our help in ages past, / our hope for years to come, / still be our guard while troubles last, / and our eternal home.’1 Pray for our broken world.
The 2020 pandemic shook the world. Every part of the globe is still quaking from painful aftershocks. In these times of desperation, many fractured lives remain sunk in despair, some have loosened their grip on faith, others struggle to hold on to hope…
God’s people are facing ‘desperate times’ (v 3). Their solid ground has been shaken and they even feel ‘rejected’ by God (v 1). Yet, although what once seemed firm is now fractured and fragile, a note of hope is introduced: ‘But … you have raised a banner’ (v 4). After evacuating a building, following a fire or some other emergency, people gather at a designated ‘assembly point’ – a secure place to wait, where heads are counted to make sure everyone is safe. In desperate times, the rallying point for God’s people is not a place but a person. ‘Fear’ of God (see v 4) signifies the people’s reverence; the reference to ‘those you love’ (v 5) speaks of God’s regard for them, because of which he reaches out in rescue.
When God’s people listen as he speaks from his ‘sanctuary’ (v 6), this rallying point becomes a turning point. Despite earth-shaking, earth-shattering events, the heavenly throne remains unshakeable. The earth, with everything and everyone in it, belongs to God and will be dealt with according to his sovereign purposes (vs 6–8). Israel’s enemies will be defeated – as the Amorites, Moabites, and Midianites discovered when they tried to thwart God’s purposes2 – and Israel’s inheritance is secure. Israel learned, often the hard way, that ‘human help is worthless’ and only God can give lasting victory (vs 11,12). It is a lesson that we, too, must learn.
In every choice or crisis, every opportunity or obstacle, let God be your rallying point. Allow his purposes and perspectives to inform, form, and transform your vision, viewpoint, and values.
Lord God, you are my only hope when life is hard. Help me to trust you, be faithful, and to praise your name.
1 Isaac Watts, 1674–1748, ‘O God our help in ages past’ 2 Num 21:21–31; 24:12–19; 31:1–12
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