Psalm 56 & 57
Some Commentators have called psalms 56 and 57 “twin psalms” because both psalms have many things in common. Both psalms are similar in length and are divided into two parts. Both were written at times of deep distress and the tone of both psalms is similar. Each psalm begins with a prayer for deliverance, and both end with praise and triumph in the Lord.
Although both psalms are similar, each one contains thoughts that contribute to the overall statement of faith on the part of David. In Psalm 56:3 and 4, David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”
Within the above passage, there are two important points to consider. First, when David wrote that when he was afraid, he placed his trust in the Lord. In fact, David always placed his faith in the Lord. Was he a flawed man? Yes. Did he make mistakes? Yes. But the single shining quality he had was his trust in God.
One of the greatest obstacles that Christians seem to have is an unwillingness to place their trust in the Lord. Whether consciously, or unconsciously, there is always the thought, “I have to take care of this myself.” “I mean, miracles don’t happen anymore right? So, God doesn’t work that way…..right?” That is not true. There is a difference between the reason for the miracles that were performed then and God’s work in His universe today. It is certainly different on how God interacts with His children. God is always in control. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly state that His people are to place their complete trust in Him.
God is not some servant to answer prayers. Prayer and trust are not insurance policies to be pulled out in an emergency. Being a Christian is not like belonging to a club or an association. It is not a business contract or a partnership. God is the Supreme Being, Creator, and the Living God. Being a Christian involves a life-time commitment to Him through Jesus Christ, a change in living, and continual growth and maturity. David understood that even though the Gospel Message was still in the future. But he believed and loved God.
Sometimes, when trials hit, and a person becomes afraid, the urge is to blame God or to blame the church because God did not protect the person. All such “urges” are the work of Satan. David could have despaired and complained to God but instead, he kept his wits and faith about him and he placed his trust in the Lord.
The second main point was that David knew that as long as he was with the Lord, mortal man could do very little to him. In Psalm 56 verses 3-4, David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?” Today, it is easy to get caught up with the problems and dangers of this world. There IS danger that can be avoided, and the Bible dearly teaches that the Lord expects his children to use responsible judgment in facing those dangers. However, when those dangers cannot be avoided, each person must remember that with the Lord, there is nothing in this life that can actually affect the hope and promise of eternal life that comes in Jesus Christ.
For people of this world, the worst thing that can happen is death; but, for Christians, death is merely the beginning of an eternal relationship with the Lord. Paul longed for that day when the faith would become reality. John wrote, “Amen, come Lord Jesus”. Thanks be to God that the hope of a Christian rests upon the foundation of God and not man!
In Psalm 57 there is also a beautiful expression that vividly shows how God protects His people. David wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” David pictured the protection of God like a mother hen protecting her chicks.
Today, the stress and pressure of life can build up very easily. As an adult, or near adult, it can be a very lonely time. As a person tries to deal with all the trials, that person usually feels very exposed. Certainly, as David faced his great trials of life, he must have felt that; but David found the answer in the Lord.
All grownups can remember back to the simpler and more innocent times of childhood. For a little one, problems still seemed to be large, but there was one thing about the problems. If they got too big, that child could run to Momma or Daddy and let those big loving arms encircle him, or her, and that sense of protection helped. There was refuge in the arms of that parent.
Adults don’t have that luxury – or do they? When David placed his trust in the Lord, he pictured, in his mind, the Lord covering him. Today, a Christian could also think of the Lord placing his great, loving hands around him as the problems seem to increase. For a Christian, the security and refuge of a child is still there in Jesus Christ.
The trouble is that too many Christians do not make use of that. What a tragedy! God’s presence sustained David in many very difficult situations. As a child of God, how much more will the Lord protect a man or woman who places their trust in the Lord?