Do me a favor and please read Psalm 108.
Our psalm today is pieced together from two different psalms of David. Verses 1-5 are nearly identical to Psalm 57:7-11 and verses 6-13 very nearly match Psalm 60:5-12. Why would David borrow from his other psalms? Not sure – and in truth there is no way for us to know. Some people feel that psalm 108 was possibly written by someone else FOR David and so they took a couple “oldies but goodies” and smooshed them together for him. Regardless of the reason why it was penned, or even who penned it, the results are still the same. This is a psalm of victory.
As I read this psalm I can picture why David would sing praises about these victories God gave him and his people. During a time when you either attacked or prepared to BE attacked, a time when war was frequent, you praised God for defeating your enemies. War was a way of the world and a reality David faced. But what about me? What about today? I always say that we should allow scripture to speak and speak for the author who is writing it but the beauty of scripture is that it’s God’s living and breathing word. Its voice gives us rest, assurance, and hope as seen through God’s constant love and dedication towards his people. We not only get to see what God has done but see how that matches with what God is DOING right now. So what is God doing now? What “victory” is in my life that I can sing about, praise him for, and take comfort in?
That’s the challenge. I’m not at war. I don’t have people trying to take a kingdom or snuff me out. My “victory” each day is that I made it home safely, my family got fed, and I didn’t accidentally kill anyone that has been trusted to me. Not that I would…but really those are my “goals” as a parent and husband. Put everyone to bed safely and if we all wake up tomorrow – get everyone back to bed safely the next day too. Wet, lather, rinse, and repeat.
So maybe I’m not to look to “victories” in my life but simply take joy and comfort in the knowledge that IF there was a battle, IF there was a confrontation, IF there was a need like that…God would provide. But we shouldn’t just stop there with this psalm. There’s more here than simply “victory” for this psalm is a call to worship (vs 1-5), a psalm of prayer (vs 6), a psalm of praise (vs 7-12), and a psalm of joy (vs 13)…and all with words that have been used before.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve probably used the same prayer before. Maybe you’ve used it time and time again and maybe it’s simply your “go-to” prayer. And if you’re anything like me then you’ve kind of felt bad about that. “Am I not creative enough to pray something different?” is a question I’ve asked. But let us not get hung up on saying the same words, praying the same prayer, or anything of the like. Just as prayer doesn’t have to be eloquent and sounding like it was written by a speechwriter (if that was the case then MOST of us wouldn’t pray) – it also doesn’t matter if we re-hash previous prayers. A need is a need, a praise is a praise, and a prayer is a prayer. If you have a re-occurring need why wouldn’t you continue to ask for it? If you’ve experienced an answered prayer then why wouldn’t you ask again should something similar come up? And if you’re still waiting on God to answer a prayer why wouldn’t you ask again and again? There is no wrong way to pray and there is no incorrect way to give glory to God.
And in truth, Christ prayed Psalm 22 as he hung on the cross. And frequently you and I sing psalms themselves and we didn’t write those. Psalm 23 is a text I frequently use in funerals and those aren’t mine either…and yet they are mine because we’ve made them ours. They comfort us, speak of truth and hope, and do exactcly what they are meant to do and it doesn’t matter who penned it or why. Its timelessness IS part of its truth.
A voice long ago is still a voice today. The needs of long ago are still the needs of today. And the God who gave victories long ago is still the God who gives us victories today. Even ones as little as making sure I don’t kill my kids today.