Psalm 57, like most of David’s Psalms, are bound in his history. And it should be that way! Psalm 57 is based on a point of David’s history recorded in the Scriptures in 1 Samuel 22. Although entirely about God, He uses real human beings to tell His story. David had days when he was frightened. This Psalm covers one of those days. What a blessing for us that we get to peek into his “prayer journal” and see what and how he prayed and learn how to pray to our Lord when we go through similar circumstances.
In the first five verses, David is praying for calm in the cave by praying for God’s comfort.
Verses 1-5: Comfort
1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me— God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.
4 I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts— men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
David knew where to turn for help. He did not turn to his own ingenuity without first calling on the Lord and seeking His counsel. Verse 1 contains such a beautiful picture: “I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed”. Can there be any safer place than in the shadow of the Lord’s wings? And David needed protection! Pursued by Saul like a deer running from lions, David knew the gravity of his situation (verse 4). He was not naïve about the circumstances, he just knew Who to seek. Protected and covered, David would patiently wait for the Lord to vindicate him (verse 2). In his comfort from the Lord, he concludes his request with praising God who is “above the heavens”.
In the last six verses, David prays for calm in the cave with celebration.
Verses 6-11: Celebration
6 They spread a net for my feet— I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path— but they have fallen into it themselves.
7 My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.
8 Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
Comforted in the shadow of the Lord’s protective wings, David celebrates the Lord. Read those verses again! One cannot praise God in the midst of trouble without the understanding David had. He called to the Lord. David knew the Lord would be faithful to him. David sang and made music to the Lord and celebrated His faithfulness. What a testimony the Lord gave David! Even a casual survey of David’s life reveals that, indeed, the Lord’s love is “great…reaching to the heavens” (verse 10).
Calm in the cave is based on the calm in our hearts. Don’t curse the cave. David learned the attributes of God not through education in a classroom, but running from hiding place to hiding place and recognizing that the Lord of creation was watching over him and protecting. David celebrated this comfort. You, too, can celebrate this comfort.