Psalm 60:4

There are heights and depths in the Divine life. We may pass quickly from the one to the other. When at the height of triumph we may be brought low. When in the depths of despondency we may be raised up. This psalm speaks of despondency. We see -

I. HOPE RISING IN THE MIDST OF DESPONDENCY. (Vers. 1-4.) We are apt to fix our mind on our trials. They bulk large. They press us sorely. We dwell upon their grievousness. We shrink from their effects, bewildered and dismayed (ver. 3). Besides, we are too ready to think of our trials as judgments. Our sins make us afraid. God seems to be visiting us in wrath, instead of mercy. But this is our infirmity. As we turn to God with humility, hope rises in our hearts. God is not against us, but for us. If he visits us with trials, it is for our good. His banner over us is still the banner of love.

II. FAITH IN GOD'S PROMISES SUSTAINING THE SOUL IN DESPONDENCY. (Vers. 5-8.) The words of Moses, Samuel, and Nathan had sunk deep into the psalmist's heart. He remembered them, and was comforted. How much more reason have we to say, "God hath spoken in his holiness"! We have not only the words, that David had, but many words besides - not only the words of prophets and apostles, but the words of him of whom it was said, "Thou hast the words of eternal life." The Holy Scriptures are rich in promises (2 Peter 1:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 1:20). We may take one and another to the throne of grace, and say, "Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction" (Psalm 119:49, 50). Two rabbis, it is said, approaching Jerusalem, observed a fox running up the hill of Zion. Rabbi Joshua wept, but Rabbi Eliezer laughed. "Wherefore dost thou weep?" asked Eliezer. "I weep because I see what is written in the Lamentations fulfilled: 'Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it'" (Lamentations 5:18). "And therefore do I laugh," said Eliezer; "for when I see with my own eyes that God has fulfilled his threatenings to the letter, I have thereby a pledge that not one of his promises shall fail, for he is ever more ready to show mercy than judgment."

III. PRAYER TO GOD GAINING THE VICTORY OVER DESPONDENCY. (Vers. 9-12.) There are great things promised, but how are they to be performed? If we had to do with man, we might have doubts and fears. But we have to do with God, and he is both able and willing to fulfil his word. Remembering his character and his works, we rise above all desponding and depressing influences. Committing ourselves to the keeping of the Lord of hosts, we go forth to the fight with brave hearts. "Jehovah-Nissi" is our watchword, and we are able to say, "Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (l Corinthians 15:57). - W.F.

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.
In the Lord Jesus we find the clue to the history and the solution of the prophecy. He is the banner — He is the ensign that is lifted up before the people. He is the Jehovah Nissi, "the Lord my banner," whom it is our joy to follow, and around whom it is our delight to rally.


1. As the point of union. In stress of war all gathered round the standard. And so all Christians around Christ. All followed its guidance.

2. And the banner, let it be remembered, is always the object of chief attack. The moment the adversary sees it, his object is to strike there. Did they not of old aim their shots at the flagstaff to cut down the banner? So has the Lord Jesus Christ been ever assailed.

3. And why should the banner be the object of attack but for this very reason, that it is the symbol of defiance As soon as ever the banner IS lifted up, it is, as it were, flapped in the face of the foe. It seems to say to him, "Do your worst — come on! We are not afraid of you — we defy you!" Every time a sermon is preached in the power of the Spirit, it is as though the shrill clarion woke up the fiends of hell, for every sermon seems to say to them, "Christ is come forth again to deliver His lawful captives out of your power; the King of kings has come to take away His subjects." We have not quite exhausted the metaphor yet.

4. The banner was ever a source of consolation to the wounded. He sees the banner still waving, and with his last breath he cries, "On! on! on!" and falls asleep content, because the banner is safe. It has not been cast down. Though he has fallen, yet the banner is secure. Even so every true soldier of the Cross rejoices in its triumph.

5. The banner is the emblem of victory. When the fight is done, and the soldier cometh home, what bringeth he? His blood-stained flag. And what is borne highest in the procession as it winds through the streets? It is the flag. They hang it in the minster; high up there in the roof, and where the incense smoketh, and where the song of praise ascendeth, there hangs the banner, honoured and esteemed, borne in conflict and in danger. Now, our Lord Jesus Christ shall be our banner in the last day, when all our foes shall be under our feet.

II. WHO GAVE US THE BANNER? Soldiers often esteem the colours for the sake of the person who first bestowed them. You and I ought to esteem the Gospel of our precious Christ for the sake of God who gave Him to us. "Thou hast given a banner." God gave us the banner in old eternity.

III. TO WHOM IS THIS BANNER GIVEN? Shall the banner be put in the drunkard's hands? Shall the great truth of Christ be left to those who live in sin? Now, inasmuch as this banner is given to those that fear God, if you fear God it is given to you. I do not know in what capacity you are to bear it, but I do know there is somewhere or other where you have to carry it. Mother, let the banner wave in your household. Merchant, let your banner be fixed upon your house of business. Let it be unfurled and fly at your masthead, O sailor. Bear your banner, O soldier, in your regiment.

IV. WHY WAS THIS BANNER GIVEN TO US? To be "displayed because of the truth." There let it be displayed. Preach Christ Lift Him up with a clear voice as one that has something to say that He would have men hear. Speak of Him boldly as one who is not ashamed of his message.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

We may regard the banner as telling of the Divine presence and power of our Lord Jesus Christ. And thus understood, notice —

I. THE CHARGE THAT IS GIVEN TO US. We are to carry this banner in the front of the advancing force, and we are never to neglect or lose it. This banner was so carried by the apostles and the believers of the Pentecostal Church.

II. THE OBLIGATION THAT IS IMPLIED BY ITS POSSESSION. God has given this banner to us, and it involves great responsibility. What the Gospel has done for us should urge us to make it known, should make us eager in the work, counting it our high privilege. And it comes associated with Divine promises.

III. THE MOTIVE BY WHICH THE RESPONSIBILITY IS URGED — "because of the truth." For it is the only truth that can meet the wants of guilty souls and bring light and blessing to men. And this banner has been borne and with results full of blessing, for the results of mission work within the last ninety years are greater than those of the first century of apostolic labour with Pentecostal power.

(J. P. Chown.)


1. For the mustering of the troops to battle.

2. To guide the soldier to conflict.

3. To animate the sinking hopes and courage of the soldier. Now, the Gospel does all this in the spiritual warfare.

II. TO WHOM THE LORD GIVES THIS BANNER — "to them that feared Thee."

III. TO WHOM THE LORD GIVES THIS BANNER — "to them that displayed."

IV. WHEREFORE IT IS TO BE THUS DISPLAYED. Different motives may animate us herein: party spirit, and the like. But the right motive is "because of the truth," that it may be more known and welcomed.

(J. W. Cunningham, M. A.)

I. AS A POINT OF UNION. When Christ is preached, when the banner is raised, His people gather around it and follow it. All true Christians are an army gathered under the same banner, to fight against common enemies — the world, the flesh, and the devil.

II. AS A SOURCE OF ENCOURAGEMENT. We know the dismay and discouragement which often follow when a standard-bearer fainteth. Whereas the sight of their colours floating in the air gladdens and inspirits the troops. Hence we learn that the believer, in his Christian warfare, is to gather strength and courage, by continually "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," etc. In all his difficulties and trials, the believer is to "consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself," etc.

III. AS A TERROR TO THE ENEMIES OF THE LORD'S PEOPLE. This follows, by necessary consequence. For if He ensures victory to His people, He must overthrow their enemies. If He is to cover His people with the garments of salvation, He must also clothe their enemies with shame.

(R. W. Dibdin, M. A.)

Here we have the believer presented as a standard-bearer.

I. A BANNER. The republic of God has its flag.

II. THE BEARER. Every one who "fears" God. In an army every man is a soldier; in God's army every soldier is also a standard-bearer. He bears both weapons wherewith to fight, and the flag wherewith to witness; and the flag is as important as the sword or shield. God's army is made "terrible" to the enemy by its banners.

III. THE DUTY. The banner is to "be displayed." God's believing people are to confess Him before men; display the flag, openly declare that He is their God and they are His disciples.

IV. THE OBJECT. "Truth" here stands for everything in doctrine and duty which is Godlike and profitable. In two ways the display of the army's colours furthers the cause.

1. In the impression made on the foe.

2. In the incentive furnished to heroic endeavour and endurance on the part of fellow-soldiers.

(A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

At the relief of Kimberley the garrison could say that through all the siege, "Her Majesty's flag had been kept flying." And when Sir George White was relieved at Ladysmith, he exclaimed, "Thank God, our flag has been upheld." Paul, after the siege of a long life, felt the same triumphant boast about the banner entrusted to him.

Let our party flags be seen by all means, but grouped around Jehovah Nissi, not planted in its place. It is narrated that during the times of the Crusade, when the Lion-hearted Richard

I. of England, the Emperor of Austria, and the King of France were jointly waging war against the heroic heathen Saladin, a jealousy sprang up in the camp between England and Austria, and one morning the British banner was found lying in the dust on St. George's Mount, and the standard of Austria occupying its place. No sooner did impetuous Richard hear of the insult offered to the Royal ensign than he strode forth alone, and before the assembled hosts hurled Austria's ensign to the ground, and caused the British lion once more to take pre-eminence, remarking, "Your banners may be planted around mine, but never take its place." So let it he with us, beloved. Upon the St. George's Mount of our heart and life let the Lion of Judah, Jehovah Nissi, alone have the place of honour.

(A. G. Brown.)

Aram, David, Edomites, Joab, Manasseh, Psalmist, Syrians
Banner, Bow, Displayed, Ensign, Fear, Fearing, Flight, Hast, Lifted, Raised, Rally, Safe, Selah, Truth, Unfurled
1. David, complaining to God of former judgment
4. now upon better hope, prays for deliverance
6. Comforting himself in God's promises, he craves that help whereon he trusts

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 60:4

     5236   bow and arrow
     8335   reverence, and blessing

Psalm 60:4-6

     5223   banner

Moab is My Washpot
What does Moab represent to you and to me? We are the children of Israel by faith in Christ, and in him we have obtained by covenant a promised land. Our faith may cry, "I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valles of Succoth." All things are ours in Christ Jesus; "Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine." Now Moab was outside of Canaan. It was not given to Israel as a possession, but in course of time it was subdued in warfare, and became tributary to the Jewish king. Even thus our faith overcometh
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

That we must not Believe Everyone, and that we are Prone to Fall in Our Words
Lord, be thou my help in trouble, for vain is the help of man.(1) How often have I failed to find faithfulness, where I thought I possessed it. How many times I have found it where I least expected. Vain therefore is hope in men, but the salvation of the just, O God, is in Thee. Blessed be thou, O Lord my God, in all things which happen unto us. We are weak and unstable, we are quickly deceived and quite changed. 2. Who is the man who is able to keep himself so warily and circumspectly as not
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Dialogue i. --The Immutable.
Orthodoxos and Eranistes. Orth.--Better were it for us to agree and abide by the apostolic doctrine in its purity. But since, I know not how, you have broken the harmony, and are now offering us new doctrines, let us, if you please, with no kind of quarrel, investigate the truth. Eran.--We need no investigation, for we exactly hold the truth. Orth.--This is what every heretic supposes. Aye, even Jews and Pagans reckon that they are defending the doctrines of the truth; and so also do not only the
Theodoret—The Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret

Vehicles of Revelation; Scripture, the Church, Tradition.
(a) The supreme and unique revelation of God to man is in the Person of the Incarnate Son. But though unique the Incarnation is not solitary. Before it there was the divine institution of the Law and the Prophets, the former a typical anticipation (de Incarn. 40. 2) of the destined reality, and along with the latter (ib. 12. 2 and 5) for all the world a holy school of the knowledge of God and the conduct of the soul.' After it there is the history of the life and teaching of Christ and the writings
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

The piety of the Old Testament Church is reflected with more clearness and variety in the Psalter than in any other book of the Old Testament. It constitutes the response of the Church to the divine demands of prophecy, and, in a less degree, of law; or, rather, it expresses those emotions and aspirations of the universal heart which lie deeper than any formal demand. It is the speech of the soul face to face with God. Its words are as simple and unaffected as human words can be, for it is the genius
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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