FROM MISERY TO MERCY
“In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (4).
Read Psalm 56
For the director of music. To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oaks.” Of David. A miktam.[b] When the Philistines had seized him in Gath.
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[c] let them escape;
in your anger, God, bring the nations down.
8 Record my misery;
list my tears on your scroll[d]—
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 me?
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.
a Psalm 56:1 In Hebrew texts 56:1-13 is numbered 56:2-14.
b Psalm 56:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
c Psalm 56:7 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text does not have do not.
d Psalm 56:8 Or misery; / put my tears in your wineskin
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectGod collects your tears. Think about the last time you cried— God was there loving you.
I love the way this psalm starts with misery (1) but ends with mercy (13). I love the sweeping poetic language. David goes from the hefty “bring the nations down” (7) to the intensely personal “list my tears” (8) with hardly a pause to draw breath. His enemies are constantly with him (1,2,5), but he calls upon his God and he isn’t going to give in without a struggle.
We might not think we have enemies, at least not in the sense that David did. But enemies don’t always have two legs and come wearing a battledress.
There might be people around us who don’t want the best for us. They may actively twist our words (5), or perhaps more likely they may hinder us by doing nothing to help us. Whatever we face, we can put our trust in God (3).
David knows (9) that when he calls to God for help his enemies will retreat. What power we have in our lives when we remember that the same God is there for us too!
Think about times you have been afraid. What are your fears now? In your personal life, for your family, for the world? Take time now to place all of your worries into God’s hands.
God, I know that You are for me. Remind me often of this truth.