David: Man on the Run (Psalm 59)

Scripture reading – Psalm 59

An Introduction

With the assistance of David’s wife, Michal, who was the daughter of King Saul, David “escaped, and came to Samuel to Ramah, and… he and Samuel went and dwelt in Naioth” (19:18).

Saul had given his soul over to an evil, murderous spirit, and he would not rest until David was dead (19:20). In spite of Jonathan’s effort to persuade his father to abandon his pursuit, he and David had accepted that Saul would not be dissuaded from his murderous plot. With tears, and affirmations of perpetual care and friendship (20:41), the two great warriors renewed their vows, and parted with Jonathan confessing, “The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city” (20:42).

Psalm 59

With the prior devotional as our background (“Life on the Run”), today’s Scripture reading records the prayer, thoughts, and meditations of David during his flight from Saul. Psalm 59 is an emotional, and dramatic window into the soul of a man who had been treated unjustly. His favor, and loyal service to the king had been rewarded with cursing, and a plot to kill him. The soldiers he had led into battle against the Philistines, were now deployed to pursue, and kill him.

In the midst of his sorrows, and bitter disappointments, David turned to the One who offered him hope, and comfort, and prayed: “1Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: Defend me from them that rise up against me. 2Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men” (59:1-2).

David had accepted that Saul was his adversary, and the LORD alone could deliver, defend, and save him (59:1-3). He had searched his heart for wrongdoing (59:3), and confessing his innocence, he called on the LORD, “Not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Lord. 4They run and prepare themselves without my fault: Awake to help me, and behold” (59:3c-4).

David minced no words in describing the wicked character, and evil intent of his enemies: “They make a noise like a dog [howl and growl] … they belch out with their mouth [curses and insults]: Swords are in their lips” (59:6-7). He called on the LORD to avenge, protect, and deliver him from their plot to kill him (59:8-17). He expressed his confidence that the LORD hears, and answers prayer. He is the “God of mercy…[a] Shield” (59:10-11), and He will avenge His people (59:11-13). Though his enemies ran about like a pack of ravenous dogs (59:14-15), David expressed his confidence in the LORD saying:

Psalm 59:16–17 – “I will sing of thy power; Yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: For thou hast been my defence And refuge in the day of my trouble.
17Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: For God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.”

We do not know what tomorrow will bring, but we can be confident the LORD is ever with us! Should an enemy assail us, and we find no sin when we search our hearts, then let us join David in a song of gratitude, and praise, and be confident the LORD is our “defense, and the God of mercy” (59:17).

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith