The history
of Psalm 56 (“When the Philistines had seized him in Gath”) is found in 1 Samuel 21:10-15.  It was another incident with David running
for his life from King Saul.

This Psalm
expresses David’s personal sadness.  His
sadness was not just because he “had the blues”.  On the contrary, his opponents were twisting
his words and laying traps for him (verses 5-6).  This was legitimate!  In his anguish, he calls out to the Lord: 

1 Be merciful to me, my God, for my enemies are in hot
pursuit; all day long they press their attack. 
2 My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many
are attacking me.

3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In
God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere
mortals do to me?

5 All day long they twist my words; all their schemes are
for my ruin. 6 They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps,
hoping to take my life. 7 Because of their wickedness do not
let them escape; in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

8 Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll — are
they not in your record?  
9 Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By
this I will know that God is for me.

 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I
praise— 11 in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to

 12 I am under vows to you, my God; I will present my thank
offerings to you. 13 For you have delivered me from death and
my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.


This was the same David who had defeated the giant Philistine
Goliath.  Yet, here he was running for
his life and seeking refuge in the land of the Philistines.  Talk about enemies all around!  And yet David expresses a simple truth, “when I am afraid,
I put my trust in you”

David trusted God.  That may seem
so simple until you keep putting yourself in his shoes.  He was the anointed king of all of the nation
of Israel and its current king—whom David had shown no disrespect—was trying to
kill him and pursued him relentlessly. 
Imagine wondering if the ruler of a particular town was going to
“sell you out” to the king trying to end your life.  Imagine the fear, anxiety, and paranoia.  Yet, David trusted God.

The ones chasing after him were deceivers—their word could not be
trusted.  The Lord’s word, however, could
be praised.  His word was absolute and
absolutely true (verses 10-11). 

David’s words had bound him to God and he offered himself to the Lord’s
will and purposes for his life (verse 12). 
David’s deliverance would be a cause of worship for him. 

When we follow Jesus—no matter what—we, too, can walk in the “light of
(verse 13).  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever
follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”
(John 8:12).  Just like David, we must look beyond our
fear, fumbling, and foibles and look to the light of the world to illuminate our