Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;Set me securely on an inaccessibly high place away from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from those who practice wrongdoing,And save me from bloodthirsty men. Look! They lie in wait for my life;Fierce and powerful men [are uniting together to] launch an attack against me,Not for my wrongdoing nor for any sin of mine, O Lord. They run and set themselves against me though there is no guilt in me;Stir Yourself to meet and help me, and see [what they are doing]! You, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel,Arise to punish all the nations;Spare no one and do not be merciful to any who treacherously plot evil. Selah. They return at evening, they howl and snarl like dogs,And go [prowling] around the city. Look how they belch out [insults] with their mouths;Swords [of sarcasm, ridicule, slander, and lies] are in their lips,For they say, “Who hears us?” But You, O Lord, will laugh at them [in scorn];You scoff at and deride all the nations. O [God] my strength, I will watch for You;For God is my stronghold [my refuge, my protector, my high tower]. My God in His [steadfast] lovingkindness will meet me;God will let me look triumphantly on my enemies [who lie in wait for me]. Do not kill them, or my people will forget;Scatter them and make them wander [endlessly] back and forth by Your power, and bring them down,O Lord our shield! For the sin of their mouths and the words of their lips,Let them even be trapped in their pride,And on account of the curses and lies which they tell. Destroy them in wrath, destroy them so that they may be no more;Let them know that God rules over Jacob (Israel)To the ends of the earth. Selah. They return at evening, they howl and snarl like dogs,And go [prowling] around the city. They wander around for food [to devour]And growl all night if they are not satisfied. But as for me, I will sing of Your mighty strength and power;Yes, I will sing joyfully of Your lovingkindness in the morning;For You have been my strongholdAnd a refuge in the day of my distress. To You, O [God] my strength, I will sing praises;For God is my stronghold [my refuge, my protector, my high tower], the God who shows me [steadfast] lovingkindness.
Little Luther came to live with us last Christmas Eve. Just days before we’d saved him from death row in a local dog pound.
When the rescuers first saw him, he was huddled fearfully in the pen. What terrible dangers had he faced? Why was he so emaciated?
We spoke kindly and lovingly to him, held him a lot, fattened him up, trained and played with him. Now he runs to us, rather than from us.
David knew something about being skittish. He writes this psalm “when Saul had sent men….to kill him.” First Samuel 19: 11-18 details he escape from the assassins sent by
Saul. Five times before Saul had wanted David dead, but this time He intentionally and premeditated and planned the assassin. We might not be in a situation where someone is actually planning our demise but there are those occasions we might feel endangered either emotionally, relationally, physically, or even spiritually. We wonder how if it’s even possible to avoid becoming permanently traumatized by such things,
One of the mistakes made in such circumstances is the failure to distinguish between the circumstance and the character of God.
It would have been easy for David to misread God’s attitude. He could have said, “If God really cared, He wouldn’t let me be in this place. Quite often that’s how we respond. Have you let a bad situation distort your view and trust in God? Do you feel that maybe He’s not interested in or perhaps even opposed to you as the thing or person brought the hurt, disappointment or travesty?
David says, “Not so” for he knew what Paul declared with certainty: “God is for us.”(Romans 8:31). That’s why we see David running to the Lord immediately in his perilous place rather than from Him. “Deliver me….save me….help me,” he cries.
David’s plea for help did no rest on the notion of his divine appointment to be king. He also didn’t make a self-pitying demand for divine intervention by saying, “You called from my place of being a shepherd, so You are obligated now to help me since You were the One who put me in this mess.”
Rather than either of these notions, David based his appeal on the character of God- that He is powerful and just.
Our circumstances frequently change, often on a dime, but God never changes so in the storm let us go to Him rather than running from Him.
Prior to having surgery, I was nearsighted. In order to see things at a distance, I had to wear my glasses, otherwise everything was a blur. We are spiritually nearsighted and only when the Holy Spirit empowers us to see will the blur clear up and we are able to see clearly.
When David looked at his circumstances with natural eyes, he saw: “They(assassins) return at evening, snarling like dogs and prowl around the city.” How terrifying if that was all he could see!
If you and I don’t put on the eyeglasses of faith and trust in Christ, our vision will wind up being limited to only the nearby danger. Remember when Peter only saw the storm? But like David and Peter, think about what we can see when we view our situation through the lens of our relationship with the Lord: “O my Strength, I watch for you, O God, you are my fortress, my loving God.”
Once we see through those lens, we can also see the true fate of evil which opposes us. David considers that since the Lord will “go before me” He makes our enemies “wander about.” We know that no person who does wrong will ultimately prosper. They will either self-destruct or they will be dealt with by God Himself directly.
Can we believe this? Are we focused so much on our danger that we overlook God’s deliverance?
In Psalm 59, David describes the sounds of the night as “wild dogs seeking him and he hears their snarling and howls. In the night seasons, things can sound scary especially in times of uncertainty. However, from David we learn not to let those sounds be the ones that dominate. Rather focus on the fact that God will bring you through. “In the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I will praise you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.”
Adversity can make us skittish. We can find it difficult to trust others again. When they reach out, we run. We can even fear the living hand of God. We can learn from Psalm 59 that through the Lord, we can be made to feel safe again.
Those who have been broken, like Little Luther require a daily regimens of “loving kindnesses and tender mercies.” Let God, the ultimate Father, hold you closely and gently so that you learn to run to Him rather than from Him. From that place of security, we can now lift our delight to Him as we sing our song of praise.