Scripture reading – Psalm 56
The title of the psalm states the occasion that inspired it, for it was when David fled from King Saul, and sought refuge in Gath. When he was identified, and taken prisoner, David feared for his life, and made a pretense of insanity before King Achish (1 Samuel 21:10-15). I believe Psalm 56 was composed many years later when David was king. After composing the verses, the king sent the song to the chief musician of the Levites. Psalm 56 records David’s meditations, and the words were inspired by the Spirit of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Recalling the desperation, when he was taken by the Philistines, David had prayed: “1Be merciful [be gracious] unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up [trample; crush]; He fighting daily oppresseth [torments] me.2Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: For they be many that fight [attack] against me, O thou most High. 3What time I am afraid, I will trust [be confident] in thee” (56:1-3).
Trusting in God’s favor, David faced his enemies (56:1). They threatened his life with malicious words, and tormented him daily (56:2). Though he did not deny his fears, he determined to trust that the LORD would protect him (56:3), and declared, “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (56:4). Wicked men will slander your testimony, and may threaten your life, but no man can threaten your soul! (Matthew 10:28)!
David’s enemies came upon him like ravenous wolves; they twisted his words, and waited for him to stumble (56:5-6). He sometimes questioned, “Shall they escape by iniquity?” (56:7). Will they escape the consequences of their sinful ways?
He prayed the wicked would be punished, and took comfort knowing the LORD considered his sorrows, and his tears (56:8). Referencing a practice of ancient monarchs whose tears were collected in a bottle as a memorial to their sorrows, David prayed, “Put thou my tears into thy bottle: Are they not in thy book?” (56:8) He was confident the LORD would answer his prayers, and he made a wonderful statement concerning divine character: “This I know; for God is for me” (56:9b).
What a wonderful truth! You may be facing trials, and you feel abandoned. An enemy may be plotting to injure, or even destroy you. However, by faith you can claim David’s assertion and say, “I know, God is for me!”
Having stated his confidence in the LORD, David declared, “10In God will I praise his word: In the Lord will I praise his word. 11In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (56:10-11).
I have learned that my heart is comforted, and my spirit emboldened when I write, and speak what I believe. When David determined to praise God for His Word and promises, he was no longer a prisoner of fear. He had no cause to fear “what man can do” (56:11b).
The closing verses of Psalm 56 are a doxology of praise to the LORD (56:12-13). Trusting the words, and vows [promises] of the LORD, David praised the LORD at the prospects of his deliverance from his enemy.
Closing thoughts: Even the man after the heart of God went through seasons when he feared what tomorrow would bring, and struggled with the fear of man. It is natural to fear criticism, rejection, and those who gloat in our struggles. When those times come, and they will, take a lesson from David and determine to write, and sing praises to the LORD. Meditate in His Word, claim His promises, and declare, “I know, God is for me… I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (56:9, 11).
Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith