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60. Psalm 60

O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.

2Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.

3Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.

4Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

5That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.

6God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.

7Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;

8Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.

9Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?

10 Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?

11Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.

12Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.

11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. Again he reverts to the exercise of prayer, or rather is led to it naturally by the very confidence of hope, which we have seen that he entertained. He expresses his conviction, that should God extend his help, it would be sufficient of itself, although no assistance should be received from any other quarter. Literally it reads, Give us help from trouble, and vain is the help of man “O God,” as if he had said, “when pleased to put forth thy might, thou needest none to help thee; and when, therefore, once assured of an interest in thy favor, there is no reason why we should desire the aid of man. All other resources of a worldly nature vanish before the brightness of thy power.” The copulative in the verse, however, has been generally resolved into the causal particle, and I have not scrupled to follow the common practice. It were well if the sentiment expressed were effectually engraven upon our hearts. Why is it almost universally the case with men that they are either staggered in their resolution, or buoy themselves up with confidences, vain, because not derived from God, but just because they have no apprehension of that salvation which he can extend, which is of itself sufficient, and without which, any earthly succor is entirely ineffectual? In contrasting the help of God with that of man, he employs language not strictly correct, for, in reality, there is no such thing as a power in man to deliver at all. But, in our ignorance, we conceive as if there were various kinds of help in the world, and he uses the word in accommodation to our false ideas. God, in accomplishing our preservation, may use the agency of man, but he reserves it to himself, as his peculiar prerogative, to deliver, and will not suffer them to rob him of his glory. The deliverance which comes to us in this manner through human agency must properly be ascribed to God. All that David meant to assert is, that such confidences as are not derived from God are worthless and vain. And to confirm this position, he declares in the last verse of the psalm, that as, on the one hand, we can do nothing without him, so, on the other, we can do all things by his help. Two things are implied in the expression, through God we shall do valiantly; 400400     Street supposes that this psalm was composed before the battle of Helam, which is recorded in 1 Chronicles 19:16, where David beat the Syrians of Mesopotamia and the Syrians of Zobah; and, farther, that this psalm might have been sung by the armies of Israel when they were marching out to that battle, triumphantly commemorating their former victories, and avowing their hopes of gaining another by the help of the Almighty. On this verse he observes: “it was a constant practice among the bravest nations of the Greeks, for the troops to advance to battle chanting some kind of song.” And, after quoting some lines which were sung by the Spartan soldiery, he adds, “The Grecian poet avails himself of the love of glory, and the ties of domestic affection, to animate his troops; but the Hebrew makes use of the more powerful stimulus of religious enthusiasm.” first, that if God withdraw his favor, any supposed strength which is in man will soon fail; and, on the other hand, that those whose sufficiency is derived from God only are armed with courage to overcome every difficulty. To show that it is no mere half credit which he gives God, he adds, in words which ascribe the whole work to him, that it is he who shall tread down our enemies Thus, even in our controversy with creatures like ourselves, we are not at liberty to share the honor of success with God; and must it not be accounted greater sacrilege still when men set free will in opposition to divine grace, and speak of their concurring equally with God in the matter of procuring eternal salvation? Those who arrogate the least fraction of strength to themselves apart from God, only ruin themselves through their own pride.


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