Fighting Valiantly

The character of the psalms as a collection of individual works assembled with deliberate and divine purpose created the possibility of a later psalmist repurposing portions of earlier psalms, with minor adaptations, for use in a different context. David himself did this in applying the words of Psalm 18, penned originally in regard to Saul, to the enemies defeated towards the end of his reign. Similarly, he wrote two versions of  his psalm denouncing the fool who denies God’s existence (Psa. 14 and 53). In Psalm 108, a psalm attributed to David, we find an interesting combination of Psalm 57:7-11 and Psalm 60:5-12. The inspired editor eliminated the material specific to David’s historical situations, the first referring to his danger while hiding in a cave and the second regarding an approaching battle, and then combined them to emphasize how faithfulness to God remains the key to victory in whatever circumstance. Therefore, this newly formed psalm carries the strength not only of David’s trust but also the recognition of God’s positive response as an essential element of its background. It also combines personal protection with corporate deliverance. This combination and the circumstances described likely date the psalm itself as post-exhilic, perhaps formed by Ezra during the events that unfolded in Nehemiah 4, when references to the victories of David and allusions to the promised (and fulfilled) vanquishing of their enemies would bring confidence. Regardless of the timeframe, this hybrid psalm encourages the soul to aspire to great things by trusting God to deliver on His promises.

During times of turmoil and upheaval, when challenges appear on every corner and enemies arise with magic in their hearts, the answer lies neither in compromising with the pressure exerted by the world nor in fleeing before their onslaught but in trusting the God who can protect, guide, and deliver even in the worst of circumstances. Therefore, whatever challenges you currently face, keep a steadfast heart that reaches to the depths of your soul (Psa. 108:1), eliminating all doubt but instead offering all you have from the very moment you wake (Psa. 108:2). While the world may revel in secularism and self, God’s people rise above the influence of their environment to keep their eyes and their hearts firmly attached to the One who rules over all (Psa. 108:3). God is, God is One, and God is interested in us. These truths deserve dedication—not doubt. However, until we see the vast difference between the glory of God and our own need for His mercy, we will never appreciate how much we should trust Him, placing ourselves in His hands with faith in His greatness with a full recognition of the depths of our need (Psa. 108:4-5). Thus, existing as needy creatures, we must acknowledge that we need His deliverance desperately, His salvation completely, and His interest considerably (Psa. 108:6). Indeed, our hope and our joy depends not on what we can accomplish but on what God, in His holiness, has promised (Psa. 108:7-9). For Israel this meant deliverance from their enemies and safety within Canaan, but for God’s people today it encompasses deliverance from sin and safety within the church (Acts 2:38, 47). Only God has the strength, the wisdom, and the power to achieve the victory that all of us need. None of us can do it alone, and no man’s help is sufficient (Psa. 108:10-12). Nevertheless, for those faithful to God, achieving victory exists in both proof and promise, for Jesus brought victory by His death on the cross (Heb. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 15:55-57). In the apostle John’s words, “Faith is the victory” (1 Jn. 5:4), which makes it a matter of trust. But as Israel of old recognized, trusting God to provide the victory does not eliminate our need to fight (2 Tim. 4:7). Yet the promise for the faithful offers hope even in the face of the greatest of foes (1 Pet. 5:8); therefore, “Through God we will do valiantly, For it is He who shall tread down our enemies” (Psa. 108:13).

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