In many ways this psalm sounds like a general blessing, a prayer that God grant victory to one you join in worship with. At its heart is the recognition that what truly brings victory is not just the instruments used in battle, which it calls “chariots and horses” but we could call “tanks and drones” or “diplomacy and sanctions” when talking about international conflict. It is not just human strength, nor wisdom, planning, and skill. Though these things come into play, ultimately victory in the conflicts we face comes from the work of a good and loving God.
As I meditate on this central claim of this blessing, I’m invited to face both a challenge and a hope.
The hope is the realization that it is not all up to me. I know many times when I have faced conflicts and challenges I have been overwhelmed. I have wondered “how can I get through this?” seeng the obstacles, so daunting, before me. More than getting through – actually overcoming my obstacles – seemed unbelievable.
I know everyone faces such moments. This psalm reminds us that if we are walking with faith, being faithful to God in these times facing obstacles, we can know it is not up to us alone. Though we must do our part, however small or big, ultimately we do not walk alone. God walks with us. God is able.
God is still the same One who parted the Red Sea, making a way forward when there seemed to be no way, so a people caught in slavery could walk through on dry land to freedom while the greatest army in the world at that day drowned in water. God is the same One who when all seemed ended at Jesus’ execution on the cross, brought victory over the empire who seemed to crush Christ on Easter morning.
Whatever we face, this same God is with us, able to turn tragedy into triumph, obstacle into opportunity.
Yet the flip side of this is a challenge: Are you on the Lord’s side in this conflict? The promise that God will walk beside you, stand with you, and fight the battle you face, is grounded on the idea that it is the Lord’s battle. Sometimes because we are forgetting that we need not walk alone, nor rely on our strength alone, we may pick battles that are not ours to fight. We might end up facing obstacles of our own making or, worse yet, barriers that exist precisely because God is trying to stop us from going down a disastrous end.
Knowing it does not depend on soldiers, battles, horses, and your own strength but also the hand of the mighty delivering God suggests we need to not just run head-first into danger but seek God’s face, stopping through prayer, through meditation, through listening to the Spirit in our life, through wise and godly counsel, so we can see and hear what God is saying. We are promised the Holy Spirit to be with us as a guide and advocate in our journey, who will speak in our life and heart in a clear way when we need discernment if we seek God’s face. So taking that time to seek God’s face, seek God’s will, and discern God’s direction ahead of us is necessary for us to live into this blessing.
Let us lay aside fear and trust God to walk beside us, and let us also take time each day to seek God’s face, looking and listening for God’s guidance.