229 - No Other Option but God (Psalms 60–62)
The world and our circumstances will tell us otherwise, but we can confidently entrust our needs to God. When our faith is in Him alone, we can wait faithfully for His provision, knowing He hears and will respond in His time. This is the theme that runs through Psalms 60–62.
No Other Option but God
On our Wisdom Journey today, we are beginning in Psalm 60. The heading, or superscription, for Psalm 60 tells us David is the author. It also tells us the name of the tune is “Shushan,” which is Hebrew for “Lily of the Testimony.”
We don’t know what that melody line was, but evidently it related to the context of battle because this was a war-time song. This might have sounded more like a marching band than the sound of a flute.
Now we are also given here a rather long description:
When he [David] strove with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return struck down twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.
These events are recorded in 2 Samuel 8 and 10 and in 1 Chronicles 18.
While David’s army was far from Jerusalem and engaged with the enemy kings mentioned here, the Edomites, Israel’s enemy to the south of the Dead Sea, attacked Jerusalem and apparently had some early victory.
David immediately sent his army commander, Joab, to respond and then sat down and wrote this psalm. Here in verse 1 David writes, “O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us.”
This indicates that David knew the defeat in battle was because of some unconfessed sin or rebellion among the people. In both Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, Moses warned Israel that unconfessed sin would hinder their success and invite the discipline of God. And God kept His word.
Now David, representing the people, takes these circumstances to the Lord and seeks restoration. In this great psalm, David models for us three responses that can turn defeat into victory, and they apply to every believer today who suffers some kind of spiritual defeat.
First, recognize your defeat and find reassurance in the Lord. In verse 3 David writes, “You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger.” Wine in Scripture can be a symbol either of God’s blessing or of God’s judgment. Here, it speaks of His judgment.
When you feel your defeat and you take it to the Lord humbly in confession, you discover the reassurance here in verse 4: “You have set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow.” This banner refers to a flag raised on a pole during battle. It served as a signal to the soldiers, rallying them, conveying instructions, or pointing them to a place of safety.
David is saying, “When I’m bruised and bloody and failing in my battle with sin, the world, and my own flesh, and I confess to You my defeat, that is when I see the banner raised, signaling to me where I can run for refuge.”
Second, recognize your defeat, but keep an eye on the promises of God. In verse 5, David asks God to deliver his people. He believes God will do this because he trusts God’s promise to deliver His “beloved ones” when they call on Him (see Psalm 50:15: 91:15).
Numbers 23:19 tells us God cannot tell a lie. His promises can be trusted, including His promise of forgiveness when we confess our sins.
The battle for the believer is a battle over doubts in the mind—about what we think about sin, what we think about forgiveness, what we think about ourselves, and even what we think about God. If we do not learn and repeat God’s promises in our heart daily, we are going to lose hope and begin to despair.
Beloved, claiming forgiveness for your sin is never a matter of how you feel but what God has promised. His Word tells us that “if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” So, claim this promise, then move on to your next battle as you fight the good fight.
And that leads me to the third response David models here: recognize that defeat is just another reminder that you need to walk with God.
Remember, David is writing this psalm as General Joab is going to confront the Edomites. The heading of this psalm gives us the ultimate result: “Joab . . . struck down twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.”
So, keep this in mind: victory followed David’s humble confession on behalf of the nation and declaration of trust in the Lord.
In Psalm 61, David takes us on a journey in prayer. He begins by describing again that battle in our mind and with our feelings. Beloved, let me just say here that when we talk about being fallen creatures—that everything about us is fallen and in need of restoration—that means our feelings are fallen as well.
Don’t trust your feelings to guide your life. David here feels spiritually distant and weak, but he doesn’t tell us why. He just says here at the end of verse 2, “My heart is faint.”
Jonah used the same word to describe how he felt in the belly of that great fish (Jonah 2:7). I’m not sure what it feels like to be inside a fish, but I think I would want to faint as well.
Rather than wallow in his weakness, though, David cries out to God in verse 2, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” In other words, “I need to build my life on Someone far stronger than I am. I’m about as solid as the modeling clay my children play with. I need a rock; I need my life connected to the granite strength of God.”
This journey of prayer is not exclusive to David. You can take this journey any time you need to, as often as you need to, as you submit your unsteady feelings to the immovable Rock and live in dependence on the Lord.
And that also means your hope is in nothing else. God is your only option. David makes that clear here in Psalm 62 with a little two-letter Hebrew word that appears several times and is translated “alone” and “only.” He writes:
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. (verses 1-2)
David repeats this in verses 5 and 6:
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress.
I have met many people who say they are trusting in the Lord, but in reality, they are also trusting in their bank account, their medical history, their relationships. I have had people tell me they believe in Jesus, but in reality, Jesus is just one of many things they have stuffed into the backpack of their lives as they try to cover all the spiritual bases. Jesus is just one of many options for them.
David understands that God is his only option. It isn’t God plus some other way. It’s God and God alone.
How about you? When it comes to salvation, are you trusting in Christ plus works, plus baptism, plus church membership? Good deeds? When it comes to living your life as a Christian, do you have one eye on the opinion of the world and one eye on God’s Word? When it comes to taking a step of faith, do you look to circumstances or to the Spirit of God alone?
Let me encourage you, beloved, to make God your only option, your only hope, your only source of strength. And when you do, you will find underneath your heart and life the granite of God. You can say with David, “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you, O God, are my refuge, my strong tower.”
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful (Cook Communications, 2004), 206.
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