This psalm is a bit unusual in that if you look at its title, it seems to have been written in a time of victory. And yet, when you look at it, the Israelites seem to have suffered a terrible defeat.
And so they cry out,
You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; you have been angry — now restore us! You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. (1-2)
Why did they suffer this defeat? We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t talk about any mistakes they made. For that matter, it doesn’t mention this defeat at all other than in this psalm.
All we can say is that there are forces out there that will fight against us, and there are times when we will lose battles.
But there are two things to remember. First, God has not rejected us, though it may sometimes feel that way. And second, though we may lose some battles, we will ultimately win the war.
In response to the Israelites’ cry, God responds,
In triumph I will parcel out Shechem and measure off the Valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah my scepter. Moab is my washbasin, upon Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph. (6-8)
In short, “Victory is in my hands. I have chosen you as my own, and I will deliver your enemies into your hands.”
And so despite feeling as though they were rejected by God, they cried out once again to God for help, saying,
Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. (11-12)
In faith, they then went out again, not in their own strength, but in God’s. And God granted them victory.
Have you suffered defeat recently? Don’t get discouraged. Get up and stand, not in your strength, but in God’s. Ask for his help once more. And you will find victory in your life.