Theme: Defeats in the Midst of Blessing
In this week’s lessons we see that even in times of blessing, when we feel closest to the Lord, there are nevertheless areas of our lives that will cause us trouble and need correcting.
Scripture: Psalm 60:1-12
The important part of this chapter says, “In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.
“David also defeated the Moabites…”Moreover, David fought Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when he went to restore his control along the Euphrates River. [These are the areas mentioned in the title of Psalm 60.] David captured a thousand of his chariots, seven thousand charioteers and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He hamstrung all but a hundred of the chariot horses.
“When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down twenty-two thousand of them. He put garrisons in the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought tribute. The LORD gave David victory everywhere he went…
“And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
“He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The LORD gave David victory everywhere he went” (2 Sam. 8:1-5, 13, 14).
What seems to have happened, if we put the title of Psalm 60 together with this account, is that the Edomites took advantage of David’s being away from Jerusalem, fighting along the Euphrates River, and staged an uprising. They must have succeeded in this to the extent described in Psalm 60, as a result of which David dispatched Joab, one of his chief commanders, to subdue the Edomites. Joab did, achieving the victory described in the title of Psalm 60, after which David returned and completed the conquest, even of the Edomite strongholds. That sequence of events might explain why Joab is credited with killing twelve thousand Edomites in Psalm 60, while David is credited with striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in 2 Samuel 8:13.2
What does this tell us? It tells us that even in times of unprecedented blessing there are nevertheless defeats. Some Jewish cities were still being overrun by enemies. Some people were still being killed. Should we expect things to be different? It is a fallen world. Even in times of blessing we can expect some things to go wrong. In fact, even when we are closest to the Lord ourselves, we can be sure that there are still areas of our lives that will cause us trouble and need correcting.
As far as an outline goes, the psalm seems to fall into three parts of four verses each: 1) a lament on the occasion of a great defeat (vv. 1-4); 2) an appeal to God and God’s answer (vv. 5-8); and 3) two important lessons to be drawn (vv. 9-12).
1A parallel account appears in 1 Chronicles 18:1-13.
21 Chronicles 18:12 credits the slaying of the eighteen thousand to Abishai, another of David’s commanders. He could have been a commander under David during the follow-up campaign.
How did the Edomites take advantage of King David?
What lesson does today’s study teach us?
Reflection: In the midst of Philistine victory is defeat at home in Jerusalem. Dr. Boice reminds us that even in times of blessing we can expect some things to go wrong. When have you experienced this? What did you learn from it?