Defeat: To prevail over, vanquish, overcome in battle; to frustrate or thwart; to eliminate or cut off from what was expected. I think we can all remember times when we seemed to be vanquished by some force bigger, more difficult to resist than our own abilities could handle. Those moments invoked fear in us, or perhaps just plain sadness and a sense of helplessness as we stood there under the attack of whatever it was. There are times when this sense of overwhelming frustration just overcomes us with such force we almost cannot stand under the weight of it - but I don't think these are times God intends for us to face alone! In fact, he will help us defeat our enemies if we just ask him to and then stand assured in his help.
Help us defeat the enemy! No one on earth can rescue us. Only God can make us strong. Only God can defeat our enemies! (Psalm 108:12-13 ERV)
There is no power on this earth stronger than our God. He is able to thwart the craftiest of plans laid against us - whether they be plans in the realm of our finances, health, or mental strength. He is the one to make us strong. Notice the wording of that passage - he MAKES us strong. This implies we don't find strength from somewhere within - because we don't possess the natural strength to be able to withstand the pressure mounting within, nor the stresses coming at us from without. In fact, when we look at this again, there is no one on earth capable of providing rescue - it is only by God's hand and according to his plan that we realize our deliverance.
I think there is no greater joy God receives than to actually hear us utter those words indicating we need his help. To actually acknowledge that we are not going to "go this one alone" is something which gives him delight - not because he wants a bunch of mamby-pamby followers, but because he wants us to rest in him, ceasing from our own efforts to overcome what presses in against us. This may take us some time to actually learn in life - that dependence upon God doesn't mean we are weak, but that we have learned to trust and rest!
You know when this is beginning to occur in your life when the enemies are tightly closing in and the pressures are mounting. At that moment when you realize that you are not calculating the ways you can thwart the attack, but rather find yourself leaning into God's graces a little harder and with excited expectation, you know you are beginning to trust God rather than yourself. The attack is still quite real, but the anticipation of it defeating you is not! In fact, you see quite the opposite effect - you see the plans of the enemy thwarted. This doesn't mean you know "how" the enemy will be thwarted, but just that you "know" it because you are trusting God with the plans and not yourself.
David began this psalm with the attitude of praise and worship - almost commanding his soul and spirit to get it together in praise and worship. Why? When the enemy is tightly closing in around you, the "war" seems like more than your can handle, you need to sometimes talk yourself into trusting God and not your own efforts. I don't think this is unusual because our first response to "big issues" is often that of fear. Why is fear our first response? God made us with this fight or flight response - we either will rise up when feeling threatened, or we will want to run away - both are equally "defensive" postures we take. To do something different requires us to center our attention and energies in a different "place" - we place those attentions and energies squarely in the hands of God. This takes us "commanding" our attention to be on God and not the problem at hand.
This is why David begins with praise and worship - to get his mind centered on God. Where the mind goes, the heart will follow. Where the heart is solidly directed, the outcomes will be different! Just sayin!