Defeat is humiliating. A commercial for an old TV sports program called it the “agony of defeat,” as the camera captured the tumbling of a skier through the snow. So how do losers get back in the game? How do they turn defeat into victory?
When David was defeated in a battle with Edom, he understood it as a rejection on God’s part. He does not mention why God allowed it to happen, but he knew that the Lord had “suddenly turned on us in [his] anger” (Psalm 60.1 NET).
How to recover from defeat? That’s another important question, besides asking why God allowed it. In verses 6-8 of Psalm 60, David found his answer to turn defeat into a battle victory.
Moab is my washbasin.
I will make Edom serve me.
I will shout in triumph over Philistia.
Psalm 60.8 NET
God is sovereign. He put the tribes of Israel where he wanted them, north, south, east, and west (v. 6-7). And Israel’s enemies? To the east, Moab; to the south, Edom; to the west, Philistia. God has them under his control as well.
To turn defeat into triumph, David knows: “By God’s power we will conquer; he will trample down our enemies” (v. 12). But first, before that can happen, man must recognize the power of God.
Perhaps the why lies in that truth as well.
All is yours, O Lord. My tongue confesses that I, too, belong to you, and every success comes because we bow before you.
Hold this thought: Our pride is our defeat, / ‘Tis God who does the feat.