Lesson 16: David, a heart that conquers doubt

As God was about to make His promise to establish David’s throne and kingdom forever (2Samuel 7.12-16), the Lord reminded David of how He had “been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you,” (vs. 9). Turning our attention to 2Samuel 8, we can see that the Lord had done exactly that! David had victories over:

David Conquests
ESV Study Bible
  • The Philistines (vs. 1)
  • The Moabites (vs. 2)
  • Aram (vss. 3-8)
  • Hamath (via treaty, vss. 9-10)
  • Edom (vss. 13-14)

However, David’s conquests were not as easy chapter 8 would indicate. Psalm 60 was written when David “struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and Joab returned, and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.” We don’t know exactly how this happened, but it would seem that while David was battling Aram to the far north (2Samuel 8.3-8), Edom took the opportunity to revolt in the south (2Samuel 8.13-14). Now David was at war on two fronts and as Psalm 60 shows, the battle did not seem to be going well for David!

Defeat (Psalm 60.1-3)

While we do not know the details, these verses make it clear that Israel had suffered a massive defeat. But David knows that the defeat wasn’t due to superior forces; Israel’s defeat came from God! Notice the 7 times in these verses where David says of God that “You” brought various forms of calamity on His people. God had rejected them; God was angry with them! We do not know why God was upset with His people. Perhaps they violated His covenant in some way, or perhaps their military successes led to a misplaced confidence in themselves. Whatever the reason for His displeasure, Israel was doomed without God on their side!

Hope (Psalm 60.4-8)

But all was not lost. David and Israel still had hope in God. He had “set up a banner for those who fear you, that they may flee to it from the bow” (vs. 4, ESV). God would deliver His “beloved” (vs. 5) and He still ruled over Israel (vss. 6-7, these locations represent the totality of Israel) as well as the nations (vs. 8). In the midst of defeat, David had confidence that his God would be faithful to His covenant. He had hope in the Lord.

Resolve (Psalm 60.9-12)

These verses begin with uncertainty as David wonders who would give him victory over the Edomites (vs. 9). Would God, who had rejected His people, go forth with their armies (vs. 10)? The answer was one of hope: “O give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain” (vs. 11) and resolve to press on knowing that “through God we shall do valiantly, and it is He who will tread down our adversaries.” (vs. 12)

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