Bible Insights

A Song of Victory

Psalm 155: from Beyond Psalm 150

As God’s people travel through the desert and prepare to take the promised land, they come to the border of the Amorites. They ask King Sihon for permission to travel through the country, promising to stay on the main thoroughfare and not take any of the Amorites’ food or water on the way.

Though this seems like a reasonable request, Sihon refuses. Instead, he rallies his army and attacks the people of Israel as they wait in the desert.

The Israelites defend themselves, and they prevail. They take the land of the Amorites, along with the city of Heshbon, which King Sihon had captured from Moab.

Though the Israelites sought to peacefully travel through the Amorite territory, the king responded negatively, and he started a war. As a result, Israel defeated the Amorite army and took over their land.

In the aftermath of the battle, they sing a song of victory.

“Come to Heshbon.
   Let the city of Sihon be built and established;
for a fire has gone out of Heshbon,
    a flame from the city of Sihon.
It has devoured Ar of Moab,
    The lords of the high places of the Arnon.
Woe to you, Moab!
    You are undone, people of Chemosh!
He has given his sons as fugitives,
    and his daughters into captivity,
    to Sihon king of the Amorites.
We have shot at them.
    Heshbon has perished even to Dibon.
We have laid waste even to Nophah,
    Which reaches to Medeba.”

Numbers 21:27–30 (WEB)

Reflections on A Song of Victory

Though this passage may seem like mere gloating over a military conquest, remember that the Israelites sought a peaceful solution, and the Amorites attacked them. This is a song of deliverance from their enemies.

Though our enemy may not be an attacking army, we all have those who oppose us. We can trust that God will deliver us.

Have we ever sought an honorable solution to a problem and been wrongly attacked anyway? Did we ask God for his intervention? Did we praise him for his answer to our prayers?

May the Holy Spirit guide us to peaceful solutions whenever possible and protect us when peace with others eludes us.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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