This psalm is in reference to battles won by Israel under David’s rule. Very easily we can see that David is giving glory to God and boasting in His victory, not that they had superior soldiers or chariots but the Lord God behind them every step of the way. It is easy to transfer these thoughts to our own physical battles. However, there is a much more important parallel here to our spiritual battles. The Apostle Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians 6:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
When the enemy ambushes us with temptations, do we call on the name of the Lord? When thoughts creep into our heads that bring us down, do we rely on the God of Jacob to set us securely on high? When we are in the thick of battle against our demons, do we call on God to help us from the sanctuary and send support from Zion? In 1 Corinthians 10 we read:
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Every kind of temptation that exists for us to sin is one of idolatry. It is a temptation to serve another god aside from the One True God. It could be ourselves, it could be others, it could be food, sex, money, fame, power, anger, service, even church! Yet we know that God allows the enemy to come to us with these things to give us opportunities to grow in faith and witness God’s power and faithfulness in us. I used to think this passage to the Corinthians meant that God only gives us temptations which we can withstand on our own. Yet we see that Paul writes that God will provide a way out. He doesn’t say, “you can do it on your own, so suck it up ya big ninny!” He says that with God’s grace we will be able to endure and escape.
7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
This is what David is talking about in the end of the psalm. He is exalting God for His great power, recognizing our own weakness as humans. There will always be someone stronger, faster, and better than us. But with God on our side, we do not have to be concerned with these things. As long as we follow His lead, there is nothing to fear. He will get us through the hard times, the bloody battles, and the dark and lonely nights. As long as we recognize where our strength comes from, we will have many opportunities to see His saving grace as a result of His love for us. Our trials are a sign of love from God so we can grow closer to Him.