Have you ever felt like you had come to the end of your rope? David has reached the bottom in Psalm 56 and 57. How far has he fallen?
- He was the champion of Israel. Now he is a hunted enemy of the state.
- He was the most respected man in Israel. Now he is hiding in a cave. Even worse, he pretended to be crazy just to protect his life (1 Samuel 21:10-15).
- He was married to the kings daughter. Now he has left her behind to hide.
- He was best friends with the kings son. Now he has had to leave his friend behind. A friend he will never see again. His current companions are a bunch of outcasts (1 Samuel 22:2).
Sometimes life does not go our way.
How would you respond if your life was a mess like David's?
Psalm 57 has many similarities to Psalm 56:
- Similar length
- Divides into two parts
- Has a repeating refrain
- Begins with a cry for mercy
- Has an additional central theme
The central word of this psalm is "glory" and the refrain, which ends each half, declares:
Let your glory be over all the earth Psalm 57:5, 11
Interestingly, the two "selahs" precede a statement about trusting in God. The first is about God's love and faithfulness and the second is about the firmness of the psalmist heart.
The first statement is found at the center of the first part and functions as a meaningful center for part 1.
God sends forth his love and his faithfulness. Psalm 57:3c
Another interesting feature of this psalm is that verses 7-11 are also found in Psalm 108:1-5.
The events that led to the writing of this psalm are most likely either the ones recorded in 1 Samuel 22:1 or 1 Samuel 24:3.
Have Mercy on Me
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me ... Psalm 57:1
David begins this psalm very much like Psalm 56. He begins with a cry for mercy. It is good to know that we have a God who is merciful. We come to Him empty and He responds with mercy. Our only hope is in God.
Although David was hiding in a cave, he recognizes His real protection is God.
... in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge ... Psalm 57:1
Why does David trust in God? Because he knows God is loving and faithful.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! Psalm 57:3
Two words that carry so much meaning! God is loving and God is faithful. If God loves you and is always faithful to those He loves, than what could we possible fear?
David ends the first half of the psalm with a refrain of praise.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth! Psalm 57:5
Do you want to have a reason to praise God even if your world appears to crumble around you? Then meditate on God's love and faithfulness. You can trust God no matter what your circumstances.
Awake My Soul
Lets take a moment now to be real. David is not saying that he was always happy and full of joy as Saul chases him in the desert. Verse 6 tells us he was "bowed down." Life has a way of getting to us at times. But if we keep trusting we will see God's hand at work.
They dug a pit in my way,
but they have fallen into it themselves. Psalm 57:6
And when God rescues we need to be ready to praise Him! The rest of the psalm is spent praising God for his rescue. Keep in mind that David is probably still living in a cave as He writes this. This is not a psalm of praise written while standing on a mountain top. David is still an outcast on the run. But he has experienced God's rescue and that is enough for a song.
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn! Psalm 57:8
Awake my heart and sing His praise! Don't let the struggle keep you from praising God.
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalm 57:9-10
The psalm ends with a repeat of the refrain of praise.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth! Psalm 57:11
Do you want to be able to sing songs of praise even during the struggle?
Meditate on God's love and faithfulness!