Psalm 60: In the Hands of God

Read Psalm 60.

God’s economics are different than ours. Seed sown in good soil yields a hundredfold crop (Matthew 13:23); the best treasures are the ones stored up in heaven (Matthew 6:19–21); and those who show up at the end of the shift are paid just as much as the all-day sloggers (Matthew 20:1–16).

Maybe the weirdest feature of the kingdom is that security comes when we relinquish control. It’s why Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:35). Whatever is important to us must be placed in the hands of God. He is the only one whose grip never fails. He is the only true security in the universe. Everything else is just an illusion, security theater to help us sleep better at night.

It seems counterintuitive. Something deep inside of us wants to hold tightly to what we love. But God says give it all to Him. The truth is, it all belongs to Him already, but there is something powerful that happens when we relinquish our idols of control.

In Psalm 60, God interrupts David’s pleas to remind him who is in charge:

Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim is my helmet, Judah is my scepter. Moab is my washbasin, on Edom I toss my sandal; over Philistia I shout in triumph. (Psalm 60:7–8)

As king, David carries the burden of protecting and fortifying the land of Israel, but God reminds him here in this psalm that it’s not really his or the people’s land. It all belongs to God Himself. Even Israel’s enemies who were invading and attacking—Moab, Edom, Philistia—their territories all belong to the Lord too. At God’s discretion, Israel is a place of refuge (“my helmet… my scepter”), while the neighboring territories are common (“my washbasin,” the sandal pile by the front door).

The point is that it all belongs to God, to do with as He pleases. Israel is secure, not because David has a top-notch army and the latest-model chariots at his disposal, but because the land really belongs to God. He will protect what’s His, and He will do whatever He wants with Israel’s neighbors.

It can be a scary thing—to place what we hold to be dear and precious into the hands of God. Just ask Abraham. He tied up his boy and placed him on an altar. He held a knife over Isaac’s form with every intention of driving it into the most beautiful gift he’d ever received (Genesis 22:9–10).

He recognized that as much as he loved Isaac, God loved him more. The young man belonged to God. Any claim Abraham could make as Isaac’s father was by God’s grace. He also recognized that it would do no good to oppose God on the matter. The most secure place he could put Isaac was in the hands of the Lord, and in this case, that meant lifting him up onto an altar to be sacrificed. 

The author of Hebrews tells us that Abraham’s faith was solid. He wasn’t worried for Isaac’s life, because he “reasoned that God could even raise the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Ultimately, Isaac didn’t need to be resurrected. The angel of the Lord stayed Abraham’s hand before it came to that. But death is no barrier for God.

Nothing is too hard for the Lord. The challenge is never whether God can come through in the clutch; it’s whether you and I have faith enough to place ourselves and our loved ones in His care, to let go of whatever we imagine is keeping us from falling.

If you are a child of God, you are secure, not because of what’s in your bank account or the connections you have or even the gun tucked away in your closet. You are secure, in life and death, because God has you in His hands.

“With God, we will gain the victory” (Psalm 60:12).

What is this all about?

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