Psalm 60

March 14, 2024

To the chief Musician upon Shushaneduth, Michtam of David, to teach: when he strove with Aramnaharaim and with Aramzobah, when Joab returned, and smote of Edom in the valley of salt twelve thousand.

1 O God, Thou hast cast us off, Thou hast scattered us, Thou hast been displeased: O turn Thyself to us again.

2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble: Thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof: for it shaketh.

3 Thou hast shewed Thy people hard things: Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.

4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

5 That Thy beloved may be delivered: save with Thy right hand, and hear me.

6 God hath spoken in His holiness: I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.

7 Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine: Ephraim also is the strength of Mine head: Judah is My lawgiver:

8 Moab is My washpot: over Edom will I cast out My shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of Me.

9 Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?

10 Wilt not Thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and Thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?

11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.

12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.

The Point:

We ask God to help the church in the midst of her warfare, though there be unfaithfulness within and enemies without.

How do we feel in the recitation of this psalm?

When a local church falls apart or a denomination liberalizes, or whole nations that once upheld a Protestant worldview turn to humanism or Islam, the few Christians that are left can see pieces of the church laying all around them, and it hurts. Those who still believe in the gospel and the church of Christ feel the pain of God’s displeasure with His church and His abandonment of His church. This psalm is especially appropriate for the church in the West during the 21st century, for we are facing at least 200 years of decline in which the church has compromised, and there is growing oppression against the church in Europe and America.

But throughout the psalm there comes a rising confidence that God will assist in the battle against His and our enemies. David pens the psalm as Israel marches against the armies of Edom.

What does this psalm say?

Verses 1–3. The first few verses set the context for the psalm. Following 400 years of routine oppression and rout at the hands of their enemies, David reminds the people of Israel that God’s hand is in this and it is God’s displeasure that is the source of their troubles. Remember that Israel was both a nation and a church. At some points in the Old Testament we would apply the lesson to the church and at others we would apply what we read to a nation. The context determines the application. Here we would apply this passage to the group of people referred to as “God’s people,” which is the church. In verse 2, David pictures the damage done to Israel as walls filled with large cracks. For most of the 400-year period of the Judges, Israel would not be faithful to God, and so were constantly oppressed and tyrannized by their enemies.

God had turned His face away from His people. Ultimately, the cause of Israel’s troubles is a break in their relationship with God Himself. David, therefore, prays that God would mend these fissures in the walls. When we pray to God “Have mercy on us,” we are asking God to turn back to us and take pity on our desperate and lowly condition.

Verses 4–5. Now the Psalmist issues a faith statement, confidently asserting that God will save His people by means of a banner. In wartime, a banner serves as a rallying point for the fighting men. A banner stands for a principle or a truth that makes the war worth fighting. Men will fight, but they must fight for something, and the banner symbolizes the cause. In every reformation of the church, righteous leaders must identify that point of God’s truth around which all true believers must rally. Without that rallying point, God’s people will only continue to sink in the bog of lethargy and complacency. That is why David prays, “O God, give us a banner!”

Our banner stands for the truth of the Word of God. In the battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil, we must take that truth and use it to address the specific lies and temptations presented to us in the battle. And it is the specific truth that the devil most hotly contests that becomes the major rallying point for the faithful people of God. For example, in the 4th century, those rallying points were the doctrine of the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ. Now in the 21st century church, our rallying point has become the centrality or sovereignty of God. After eight centuries of humanist infiltration into the church, a man-centered view of reality, truth, and ethics has corrupted worship and life. Therefore, true believers will believe that God is the absolute source of what we are, what we believe, and what we do. This is our rallying point in the Christian church today.

Verses 6–8. For the next few verses, David, writing as a prophet of God, lets God speak for Himself. Marching with the armies of Israel in this battle against Edom is the Lord God of Hosts Himself. What better position could any army find itself in? If God is for us, who can be against us? Let us first establish that God is for us, and then we shall march into battle anytime, anywhere.

Note the spirit of battle is one of rejoicing. For the Christian, the battle is not a drudgery nor is it a depressing, futile effort. We rejoice in the battle with a confident joy in the inevitable victory, because God always wins His battles. Most of the land of Canaan was finally secured under the reign of David. Even as God claimed the tribes of Israel as His own people, He also claims His church as His own people. Promises of victory lace the next few verses. Those who were once seen as formidable enemies, such as Moab, Edom, and Philistia, are handily routed. After all, Moab is nothing but a wash pot, and Edom a shoe rack.

Verses 9–12. The psalm continues its progression from the broken down, unfaithful church to the church militant. At first we had a vision of a church with broken walls and smashed windows, but now we find shining armies marching against the world. As a type of Christ and leader of the armies of God, David levels the question, “Who will lead me into Edom?” David knows that his nation is broken down after multiple generations of unfaithfulness. He knows that God removed His presence from His people. But that does not prevent him from marching out to war in an act of tremendous faith and obedience. David says, “I’m marching out to war. I am stepping out in faith. Oh God, will You now lead us?” What does a broken-down church do? It goes to war. We do not wait for strength. It will never come unless we address ourselves to the war, by faith. Thus, this psalm asks the question of every servant of King Jesus. Who will fight? Who is willing to advance against those citadels, whether they be nations like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, or institutions like civil governments or universities that refuse to recognize the kingly rights of Jesus Christ? The church may lack power and influence, but there was never a better time to pick up a sword and start swinging. On commencing the march, we look up to God and cry out, “Who will lead us into Edom?” The answer will come swiftly.

The concluding statement is wildly confident and should be on the lips of every fighting man in this kingdom war. “Through God we will do valiantly,” says David. This is God’s fight. He has instructed us to fight, and by faith we are now fighting. Why would He abandon us in the battle, and why would a sovereign God, who considers the nations just a little negligible dust, forfeit the fight? Indeed, we are confident we will conquer by the power of almighty God! That is the confession of the fighting man of faith. May that be our confession too.

How do we apply this psalm?

If you live in Europe or America, you are part of a church that has been in decline for at least 200 years. We are broken down. Nevertheless, we must rally around the banner of God’s truth and take on the principalities and powers of this world wherever they be. We war with the weapon of the truths of God’s Word. We understand, believe, and practice these truths.

How does this psalm teach us to worship God?

There are times in the ministry of the Word and in the battle that we will sense weakness, unfaithfulness, the abandonment of God, and defeat. But worship that is filled with faith demands that we redouble our efforts and aggressively readdress ourselves to the battle in the face of every discouragement. It is paramount that this message come across in our worship services today.


1. How does David describe the shape of God’s people as they march into war against Edom?

2. To what does God compare Moab and Edom?

3. Why is a banner so important in the battle?

4. What does a broken down church do?

5. What is our banner and where do we engage the conflict in our day?

6. Give several examples of Deliverance psalms.

Family Discussion Questions:

1. When the odds are the greatest against us, are we more likely to give up or be encouraged to redouble our efforts in the battle?

2. What specific banner do we rally around in our battles today? What specific truths from God’s Word constitute our rallying cry?