March 8 – Devotion

Date: March 8, 2017

Scripture: Psalm 60

In 2 Samuel 7:9-10, God says to David, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel.

And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.” In 2 Samuel 8, we are given an account of great victories that David won over the Philistines, Moabites, and Edomites. 

The psalm title assigns Psalm 60 to the time of the events described in 2 Samuel 7 and 2 Samuel 8.  Seemingly, despite the promise of victory and the taste of victory, there has been a crushing defeat. An enemy has dealt the armies of Israel a demoralizing blow. 

In verses 1-3 of Psalm 60, David says to God six times, in effect, You  have done this. David is saying that the defeat could not have happened if God had not permitted it. He is saying that God, as sovereign, could have prevented it. Imagine David’s anger and confusion as he questions the promises of God. Imagine the pain as he questions God’s love and faithfulness. If we are honest, all of us have occasions when we feel like David felt.

Theologians sometimes refer to the time in which we live as the time between Advents—the time between the ascension of Christ and His second coming. This time of “waiting” is described in Romans 8:22-23 (ESV): “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” In this waiting period of being already saved, but not yet glorified, we experience the tastes of joy that God graciously gives to whet our appetite for eternity with him. But we also experience the sorrows of sin and death that come from living as exiles in a world under the just wrath of God. 

Over and over, we experience sickness, hardship, and pain. Too often, it feels like God has forgotten us. We cry out to Him, “You let this happen. You could have stopped it. You have shaken the very fabric of our lives, ripping us apart. You have made us see hard things. You have made us stagger.”  You, You, You, You…

In those painful times of questioning, God has given us hope. David described a metaphorical banner God had raised for his people, a rallying point for continued battle. Likewise, he has given us Christians a banner—a reminder—of His love and faithfulness. The cross of Jesus is our banner. It is His finished work that guarantees that this life is not all there is. It is His victory over sin and death that guarantees that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18, ESV). He’s the One that encourages our hearts. Every time we turn our hearts to Him in prayer, in meditation on scripture, or in corporate worship, we’re looking to our banner. And just as the banner lifted high on the battlefield gives hope and purpose to soldiers, so our risen Savior ascended and seated at the right hand of the Father empowers and strengthens us when the enemy invades and shakes our faith. Christ’s death and resurrection is the proof of His love and power. It enables us to say, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Cor. 4:8-9, ESV).

Christians walking under this banner have found confidence and hope in the worst of trials. At his wife’s funeral, Rev. A. M. Overton, a Missisippi pastor, penned a beloved poem, “He Maketh No Mistake,” (1932). The final lines remind us as we experience significant life struggles, that “Through all the way, tho’ dark to me,/He made not one mistake.”

Prayer for the Journey: Father, as I encounter the difficulties of life, help me to see the banner of Christ’s love held high above me.

Prepared by Josh Brooks

5 Responses to “March 8 – Devotion”

  1. Ann Kyzar says:

    Good words, my friend!

  2. Mandy Starnes says:

    This is so encouraging! Thank you.

  3. Debbie Keen says:

    Exceptionally encouraging devotion! Thank you, Josh!

  4. Tappy Murray says:

    Thanks for this reminder that God does not make mistakes.

  5. Marlene Amick says:

    Any lasting victories of worth come from God, not man. I knew this, but thanks for reminding me, Josh. Great devotional!

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