We need to try and set Psalm 60 in its context.
Saul had been defeated and killed by the Philistines at Mt. Gilboa in the territory of Manasseh. His death encouraged surrounding nations to attack Israel so when David took the throne, it was a very difficult period. 2 Samuel 8 tells us that David defeated his enemies, the Philistines and the Moabites, but admittedly, his resources must have seemed stretched thin. The Syrians threatened from the north and David drove his forces on the offensive against them all the way to the Euphrates river – a distance of some 400 miles. Two Syrian kings were involved in this battle: Naharaim and Zobah (both mentioned in the heading of this psalm).
While David was occupied in the north, the Edomites struck from the south. The Bible only tells us David defeated them – a remarkable feat – but it took its toll on God’s people and the toll is expressed in the psalm.
Psalm 60 reflects a theology where God is responsible for everything. If there are difficult times, God must have caused them and if He causes them for His people, it must reflect a broken relationship. This is the point of verses 1-5. Yet in verses 6 – 8, the psalmist is given to understand that God will provide deliverance (a divine message is given him). Thus the conclusion of the Psalm is a cry to God to fulfill His promise.
We can argue whether the theology expressed in the psalm is correct. After all, do we really want to make God responsible for everything? Surely He is not.
And yet, if God were responsible for everything, could we live with that? I think it would take a tremendous faith. This is, at bottom line, the take-away from the psalm. Despite unexplained rejection and maltreatment, God’s people believe God has everything in His hands and eventually, rescue and all His promises will come true.