Psalm 108 (ESV)
With God We Shall Do Valiantly
A Song. A Psalm of David.
Psalm 108 is actually the compilation of sections from two previous psalms. Psalm 108:1-5 comes from Psalm 57:1-11, and Psalm 108:6-13 comes from Psalm 60:5-12. These are David’s words, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, taken and applied to a present challenge. The enemies specified in verses 9-13 are Moab, Edom, and Philistia (with the emphasis on Edom). It may be that the old foe, subdued in David’s day, rose again and Israel must defeat her again. Or, it may be a different foe, the prior prayer and victory over Edom serves as an example and ground for faith in the present crisis. Psalm 108 shows us that we can and should use the words of Scripture as our present prayers and praises, suitable to our present situation.
My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
2 Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
3 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
4 For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
“God is exalted above the heavens. His glory does fill the earth. The goal of history is that God might be known as God and be honored for it.”
–James Montgomery Boice
For thy mercy is great above the heavens, and therefore there must be no limit of time, or place, or people, when that mercy is to be extolled. As the heavens over arch the whole earth, and from above mercy pours down upon men, so shalt thou be praised everywhere beneath the sky. Mercy is greater than the mountains, though they pierce the clouds; earth cannot hold it all, it is so vast, so boundless, so exceeding high that the heavens themselves are over topped thereby.
And thy truth teacheth unto the clouds. As far as we can see we behold thy truth and faithfulness, and there is much beyond which lies shrouded in cloud, but we are sure that it is all mercy, though it be far above and out of our sight. Therefore shall the song be lifted high and the psalm shall peal forth without stint of far resounding music. Here is ample space for the loudest chorus, and a subject which deserves thunders of praise.
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
1 Kings 8:27 (NIV)
The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.
6 That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer me!
7 God has promised in his holiness:
“With exultation I will divide up Shechem
and portion out the Valley of Succoth.
God claims all of Israel as his, and he knows the future of each nation. Do things in our world sometimes seem out of control? Let us remember that God has the whole world in his hands, and his purposes will ultimately be fulfilled! So — no need for us to be anxious or afraid; God is in control!
These two places (Shechem and the Valley of Succoth) are associated with Jacob in Genesis 33:17-20 as the first two places the patriarch occupied after returning from his encounter with Esau. They are on opposite sides of the Jordan River.
8 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
Both of these areas are located, at least in part, east of the Jordan River.
Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my scepter.
The two most powerful tribes in Israel. They were frequently rivals, but here they are united as parts of God’s army.
9 Moab is my washbasin;
upon Edom I cast my shoe;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
These are nearby hostile nations.
10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
11 Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12 Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
This is an important and eternal principle: That which seems unconquerable can be overcome by the power of God.
“We ought to pray with all the more confidence in God when our confidence in man is altogether gone. When the help of man is vain, we shall not find it vain to seek the help of God.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
13 With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.
He who would valiant be ’gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.
Who so beset him round with dismal stories
Do but themselves confound—his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might; though he with giants fight,
He will make good his right to be a pilgrim.
Since, Lord, Thou dost defend us with Thy Spirit,
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.
–John Bunyan (written during his 12-year prison sentence for refusing to conform to the official state church)
I am thinking “harp and lyre” from verse 2. So HERE is a favorite hymn on the harp — “Be Thou My Vision,” performed by Regina Ederveen.