Losing Battles and Sustaining Hope

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), July 4

imagesEven King David lost military battles―skirmishes with the enemy. Psalm 44 demonstrates how Israel’s godly king sustains hope after military defeat:

  • He reminds himself of God’s powerful deliverances in the past, “We have heard . . . our fathers have told us, the deeds You did in their days, in days of old” (44:1).
  • He credits Israel’s entry into the land of Canaan to God, “For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance” (44:3).
  • He confirms the God of the past as the God of the present and submits to Him, “You are my King, O God. Command victories for Jacob” (44:4).
  • He ascribes military success to God, “For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me” (44:6).
  • He admits the defeat that he experiences, “But You have cast us off and put us to shame, and You do not go out with our armies…” (44:9). “For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our body clings to the ground” (44:25).
  • He looks for the cause and expresses bewilderment, “If we had forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a foreign god . . . (44:20).
  • He perseveres in prayer, “Awake! Why do you sleep, O Lord? Arise! Do not cast us off forever” (44:23).
  • He bases his prayer on God’s mercy, “And redeem us for Your mercies’ sake” (44:26).

Failure comes in all shapes and sizes: financial, health, family, sexual, social, etc. Fighters for righteousness don’t give in or give up; they get up! They continue to seek the LORD. They refuse to scheme, compromise or doubt God’s love. They recognize that defeat in this life happens. They recognize that a lost battle does not disprove God’s love, just as continuous victory doesn’t always prove God’s love or favor.

Don’t give up! Get up! Focus on and trust God’s unfailing love. Cry out to Him. And, lastly, re-engage the enemy!

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Ps. 42-46):
Psalms 42 and 43 capture the heart and focus of a discouraged and depressed person. How does the psalmist confront his despair? What does this psalm reveal about depression and how to deal with depression?
Psalm 45 is a messianic psalm. Describe the Messiah and his bride.
The Psalms reveal the internal mechanism of those who seek to walk with God in the midst of a fallen world. What does Psalm 46 reveal about fear and its antidote?