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Bible: What Does Psalms 56-60 Teach Us About God's Help Amid Trials?
David and Saul
Psalms 56-60: Blessed Assurance/Praise for God Amid Trials/The Protection and Help of the LORD
God is For the Believer
The superscription mentions that David wrote this michtam while under Philistine captivity in Gath.
His opening words betray a feeling of pressure at the overwhelming opposition (vv. 1-2), yet also faith in the mercy of a God who calms his fears (vv. 3-4).
After describing his enemies’ disingenuousness and conspiratorial hatred against him, David strongly petitions God to act wrathfully against them on his behalf (vv. 5-7).
He knows that the LORD constantly watches his life with all its difficulties, that He is on his side, and that faith will see him through his fear (vv. 8-11; cf. vv. 3-4; Rom. 8: 31).
[In verses ten and eleven David reiterates his short refrain from verse four, but includes “In the LORD (I will praise His word)”].
Verses 12-13 pictures David in a post-deliverance frame of mind, as he stands ready to fulfill his vows of praise to God.
[Having the assurance that God is for you, no matter what life might throw at you, is a source of tremendous strength].
Thirst for Righteousness?
Is it wrong for the righteous to want God to destroy the wicked?
The superscription depicts another troubling scene from David's life, this time one under Saul's persecution.
From a cave he cries out to God for mercy, confessing his trust in His protection (v. 1).
Again, he expresses confidence that God will not only save him but also reproach his enemies, whom he describes as fierce, coarse warriors (vv. 2-4).
David then interjects a prayer, calling for the LORD's universal exaltation (v. 5); afterwards, he recounts the backfiring of his enemy's plans to capture him (v. 6).
Praise from a thankful heart for God's mercy and truth ring forth from the psalmist (vv. 7-11).
[Praise in the midst of trials shows David’s intimate knowledge of His God's steadfast character].
After doubting the uprightness of certain “judges'” decisions, David asserts that their motives are evil and their actions violent (vv. 1-2).
Lying, which has alienated them from God, has characterized their lives from birth (v. 3).
Their words resemble snake venom, and their unresponsiveness to truth is like the cobra's heedlessness toward the charmer's melody (vv. 4-5).
[Cobras, of course, are deaf creatures].
Changing the analogy several times, David asks God to break their lion fangs (v. 6), make them vanish like run-off water (v. 7), make their arrows headless (v. 7b), make them wear away like a slimy snail (v. 8a), and make them like a miscarriage (v. 8b).
David predicts that God will destroy them quickly (v. 9); the just will rejoice greatly at His vengeance, and remark that He still rewards those who are His (vv. 10-11).
[While one may understand the psalmist’s desire that God judge these wicked men, it is still difficult to accept the behavior of the righteous in verse ten].
Does God Answer Prayer?
Do you believe that God hears and answers prayer?
According to the superscription, David wrote this michtam when King Saul sent men to kill him (cf. 1 Sam. 19:11).
The psalmist prays for deliverance from “my enemies,” “from those who rise up against me,” “from the workers of iniquity,” and “from bloodthirsty men” (vv. 1-2).
Those who “lie in wait for my life” seek to murder him, though David is guilty of no transgression (vv. 3-4).
He asks God to punish his adversaries by showing them no mercy (v. 5).
[David complains about “all the nations” here, but is not Saul pursuing him?]
He describes these enemies as vicious, as well as ignorant about the LORD's knowledge of their actions (vv. 6-8).
David trusts His Strength and relies on His mercy to see him through (vv. 9-10). He desires that God might scatter, yet not kill, his foes immediately (v. 11).
The idea of God’s consuming them for their wicked words suggests that their scattering consists of a slow, wasting process during which time they were to learn about the sovereignty of the LORD (vv. 12-13).
Though his enemies continue to act like wild beasts, the writer stands assured that God will protect him from them (vv. 14-17; cf. v. 6).
[It is difficult to identify with David's plight of constantly being pursued by enemies. God's certain judgment of the wicked comforted him.
Being privileged to witness the defeat of those enemies one day seemed almost an obsession with him].
The superscription indicates that David wrote this michtam during conflicts with Arameans in Mesopotamia and Syria, and when Joab, his general, slaughtered twelve thousand Edomites.
His initial prayer discloses God's temporary rejection of Israel for their sin, and David's plea that He might restore them to favor (v. 1).
While the nation has endured earthquake-like times, believers in Yahweh can still display His banner (vv. 2-4).
David asks God to effect a mighty deliverance of His people (v. 5).
As the Landowner, God considers His relationships with the territories and countries of the region, and responds triumphantly that He will use each area as He desires (vv. 6-8).
Realizing that only the One who rejected them can lead them into battle, David asks for God's help which he knows will make them courageous and triumphant (vv. 9-12).
[Believers have the distinct privilege to ask God for deliverance and help in time of trouble; unbelievers can only request help from other men].
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