“God promises us victory”: meditation on Psalm 108:10-11

October 4, 2019

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
God, haven’t you rejected us?
God, you do not march out with our armies.
Psalm 108:10-11

In Psalm 108, David has heard a new word from God: “Moab is my washbasin; I throw my sandal on Edom. I shout in triumph over Philistia.” In other words, while God had previously not been “marching out with our armies,” that will no longer be the case. God has relented from punishing Israel; he is ready to give her victory.

Here’s some good news for us: If we are in Christ, this “new word” that David heard in the sanctuary (v. 7) will always be true for us: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) While God disciplines us for our ultimate good (Hebrews 12:5-11), he will never punish us for our sin—not anymore. He will never cease to “march out with our armies”—whatever that may look like in our context.

How could this not be true? Christ has made us righteous before God (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s favor rests on us (Luke 2:14). The Father loves us exactly as much as he loves his Son (John 17:23, 26).

As with David, God has spoken in his sanctuary, and we need to hear his word and believe it: “Whatever harm the Enemy wants to cause you, I will give you the victory!” #BibleJournaling #HeReadsTruthBible #CSB

3 Responses to ““God promises us victory”: meditation on Psalm 108:10-11”

  1. Tom Harkins Says:

    But what about: “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and some sleep”? (KJV) (speaking of not honoring the Lord’s Supper). I am not sure there is an absolute dichotomy between “chastening” and “punishment.” Both (to the extent they may be different) can be with the intent that we be “trained” by that to improve ourselves, but simultaneously we “suffer the consequences” to the extent that we decline to “change” in response to it. Personally, I don’t shy away from seeing God as punishing us. Everything he does flows out of his good and godly nature, irrespective of whom he is dealing with. Ultimately, I don’t think that God won’t “punish” those he loves should the situation so warrant. (Consider, for example, Moses being prohibited from entering the Promised Land because he hit the rock. Certainly Moses was someone God loved. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”)

    • brentwhite Says:

      I think there’s a world of difference between discipline, which in the context of the Hebrews quote means to be disciplined by a loving Father who is always working for our best interests, and punishment, which has to do with God’s wrath toward sin. God has no wrath toward our sin. So whatever punishment he doles out toward us—if that’s what you want to call it—will be directed toward his glory and our good ends. I don’t think even the Old Testament saints enjoyed this imputed righteousness, even as they were justified by faith.

      As for the Corinthians who died because of their mishandling of the Lord’s Supper, if they were indeed (still) Christians, their death was for their own good—perhaps to prevent worse sin.

      Of course God can discipline us by letting us suffer the consequences of a sinful act, as my own experience happily bears witness, but this isn’t the same as God’s pouring out his wrath. We are still members of his family… if we are in Christ. God is always FOR us, regardless how we experience pain and suffering in this world.

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        This is a very interesting question, and despite my usual certainty as to all my positions 🙂 , this is one I can’t be overly dogmatic about. Consider this, though–the Letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation. Chapter 2:4-5: “4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Chapter 2:23: “Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Chapter 3:3: “Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” Chapter 3:15-16: “15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” These sound very much to me like “punishments.”

        However, that does not mean that we are not loved, nor does it mean that these statements or actions are not simultaneously “chastening.” Chapter 3:19: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”

        Consequently, it does seem to me that most “punishments” are also “chastening,” dependent upon HOW WE RESPOND to them. ALL actions by God toward Christians have an intent that we be “improved” by them, as Hebrews 12 points out. However, we can either be improved OR NOT–that is at least in part “up to us.” If we do respond to this “chastening,” well and good. If we do not, however, then these same actions of God operate as “punishments” for the sins we choose to relish rather than repenting of. I do, however, agree that God’s motive is still love when it comes to Christians, but this goes to my point that love and punishment are not necessarily antithetical to each other.

        Beyond doubt, I submit, we as Christians will be “judged”; only, our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, so that after all is said and done, we will enter glory while the rest will be cast into the lake of fire, as the closing chapters of Revelation also point out. I guess my point is, to the extent our “nomenclature” is different from each other’s, God does hold us “accountable” for what we do as Christians. I believe that the absolute forgiveness we receive is that our fellowship, both now and forever, will not be “revoked” once we become “saved”–once the “my life for your life” transaction has occurred. I don’t believe that this means God, when he looks at us, “sees ONLY Jesus.” He sees us as “ransomed.” We are therefore his “children.” But as is true with our natural children, not all children behave equally well, and that does make a difference in how we are “treated.” That’s how I see it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s