Psalm 57“A Hard Time in the Right Place”
David wrote this Psalm whilst taking shelter in a cave after escaping from Saul’s attempts to kill him (1 Samuel 22:1-2 and 1 Samuel 24:3). David was chosen by God and anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel. He was employed by Saul to play the lyre for him. At the start, Saul liked David very much and David became a high-ranking officer in Saul’s army. However, David’s ability and success made him popular amongst the people and Saul became increasingly jealous. Proverbs 27:4 states, “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” Jealousy is an immensely powerful negative emotion that can drive a person to cause all sorts of destruction. Saul developed a murderous obsession with David because he was insecure about his own position as king.
During these difficult times, David took shelter in a cave to avoid Saul and his army. David had done nothing to deserve this persecution. In fact, it was quite the opposite. He had been powerfully anointed by God and had acted according to this anointing. Saul could see the Lord’s favour upon David, but he could not accept it. Sometimes, great anointing and suffering come together. God was preparing David for his role as king. If you want great anointing in your life, it is likely you may also have to experience suffering as well. Acts 5:41 states that the apostles rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for His Name. James 1:2-4 tells us that we should count it pure joy whenever we face trials (in our faith) because testing of our faith produces perseverance and maturity. David was experiencing this kind of suffering. He may have been having a hard time, but he was in exactly the right place.
So what does David do in the cave while Saul and his armed soldiers are somewhere outside looking to murder him? The amazing thing that strikes me is that he doesn’t weep and wail at God or ask him “Why me?” No, he does not do this. There is no self-pity and he definitely does not let fear or anxiety overpower him. Instead, David gets down to business in Psalm 57. He starts by asking God for mercy and decides that he will take refuge in the Lord until the danger has passed (v1). He cries out to God Most High and knows that God is in command over the whole situation and can save him (2-3). He understands that God loves him (v3). At the same time, David is no optimistic fool. He knows that his enemies are powerful and slanderous; he calls them ravenous beasts whose tongues are sharp swords (v4). However, he chooses to praise God in the situation (v5). He makes a statement of faith that his enemies will fall into their own trap (6). David chooses to have a steadfast heart (v7). He seeks God and praises God earnestly with his soul (v8). He pledges that he will praise God among the people (v9). He declares that God’s love is great and far-reaching (v10). He finishes by exalting God and asks that God’s glory will be over all the earth (v11).
Wow. Can you imagine yourself practicing such faithfulness and giving God heartfelt praise while going through a period of suffering? David has set the example by showing us what we should focus on. God is merciful, loving, all-powerful and totally in control. When we are experiencing a period of suffering, we can choose to praise Him and remember His enduring wisdom and love for us. We do not have to be anxious or fearful because we have a great God. He may be preparing us for a greater anointing and we need to trust Him.
Suggested prayerAlmighty God, thank you that we have the blessed assurance of a loving and merciful God. We acknowledge that you are totally in control of all our circumstances. We pray for your encouragement and protection when we are going through difficult times. Help us to trust in you and maintain an attitude of praise within our hearts whatever the circumstances we are going through. Amen.