We do not know specifics of the defeat that came to Israel at this time, but the opening verses of Psalm 60 portray it as a great disaster. It was so great that two powerful images are used to describe what it was like.

Even in times of blessing we can expect some things to go wrong. In fact, even when we are closest to the Lord ourselves, we can be sure that there are still areas of our lives that will cause us trouble and need correcting.

Psalm 60 is the last of the psalms with an historical setting from the life of David. This setting is given in the title, and the title is the longest of such introductory titles in the psalter. Psalm 18 also has a long title, but this is longer. It occupies three-and-a-half lines in our text and about the same amount of space in the standard Hebrew Bible. In the Hebrew text the titles are numbered as verses, and the title is actually the first two verses of the psalm.

I wrote earlier in the week that I wanted to say more about this refrain the second time around, and we come to it the second time now. It is a great testimony, of course ("O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God"), particularly when we remember that outwardly the psalmist's circumstances had not changed a bit. The same situation that caused David to cry out to God in verses 1 and 2 are still there. But here at the very end he is not only testifying that God is his strength and his fortress. He is actually singing praises to God in the very midst of his danger. In fact, the singing begins even a verse before this, in verse 16.

In the psalmist's first appeal (vv. 1-5), the emphasis seemed to be on David's danger and therefore on the bloodthirsty men who had been set against him. In this second parallel appeal (vv. 10-13), David's description of the danger shifts to what he is asking God to do to these enemies.