Read Psalm 57
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.
1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who vindicates me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me—
God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.
4 I am in the midst of lions;
I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.
7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.
8 Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
Can our hearts be steadfast when the world around us is not? Can we stand secure in the midst of anything but security? Can we praise God for His deliverance even when we haven’t been fully delivered yet?
If we’re honest, we may not be so sure. But David sure is. David pens today’s psalm from inside a cave where he was seeking a moment of safety among a very real and present danger. King Saul was out to kill him. Enemies were lurking around, looking to destroy David and his family (1 Samuel 22). It’s easy for us to read these words because we know that God preserves David’s life; he eventually becomes King and the threat of Saul is removed. But, for a moment, put yourself in David’s shoes a few thousand years ago. What would you be saying to God in the middle of such a pressing crisis? What would your honest prayer say to the God who had promised to make you King, yet hadn’t fulfilled it yet? When you could hear those seeking to kill you just beyond the cave walls- what would you be doing? How would you be feeling?
Maybe we wouldn’t have responded this way, but David here gives us a roadmap to follow for praising God in the middle of the storm. David doesn’t turn a blind eye to his enemies (he describes them throughout the Psalm), but he doesn’t feed into fear of them, either. David describes the very real danger he’s in, but finds perspective by sandwiching it in the middle of praise to God. He knows that God is in control–even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even though he is finding momentary shelter from a cave, he knows his permanent refuge is found in God alone (v 1). He centers his earthly reality within God’s eternal reality. This world, and what happens to us here, matters. But it doesn’t matter forever. The only thing that matters for all of eternity is God’s salvation, which is why David could praise God for His saving love, even when he hadn’t experienced physical salvation yet.
Too often we wait to praise God until we’ve been rescued. We let our feelings dictate our reality and we feed our fear by dwelling on our earthly problems, instead of God’s eternal promises. Instead, let’s take a play from David’s playbook and feed our faith by remembering the truth of who is in control, regardless of how it feels in the moment. For our hearts to remain steadfast when our circumstances aren’t, we must praise God no matter what.
- Do you tend to try and ignore your problems or do you dwell on them and feel overwhelmed by them? How should we approach our problems and the difficult things in this life?
- In what ways do you need God to be your refuge right now? How can you cling to His promises today?
- Spend time in prayer and worship so your heart can be steadfast today.
Did You Know?
This Psalm is one of 4 Psalms set to the tune of “Do Not Destroy,” (57, 58, 59, 75). While we don’t know the tune to sing along with it today, each of those psalms declares God’s destruction of the wicked and His salvation of the righteous.