BENEATH HIS WINGS
Lord, keep me from being delivered over to the will of my enemies.
Read PSALM 57
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam.[b] When he had fled from Saul into the cave.
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—[c]
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.
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.
a Psalm 57:1 In Hebrew texts 57:1-11 is numbered 57:2-12.
b Psalm 57:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
c Psalm 57:3 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 6.
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.
“Jerusalem… how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (Luke 13:34).
God had promised David that he would be king of Israel. However, since that promise everything has gone wrong. Today’s psalm, for instance, is traditionally believed to have been written while David is hiding from Saul in a cave. King Saul has been relentlessly pursuing David and this has forced him to flee from his country, the country God has anointed him to rule. Now he lives as a fugitive in constant danger. Also, as this psalm reflects, people are spreading false rumors, calling him a traitor (1 Sam. 24:9). With his reputation in ruins, how can he ever hope to be king?
It would be natural for David to doubt God’s promise in the face of this adversity, yet despite his circumstances, he writes “God… fulfills his purpose for me” (2, ESV). How can David hang on when God appears to have let him down? He has an unshakeable belief in God’s love, which is reflected in the beautiful image he uses of God as a mother bird sheltering her chicks, keeping them safe under the shadow of her outstretched wings (1).
When things are not working out for us, it can be hard to maintain trust in God. We long for answers: Why is this happening? When will this terrible time end? What will the future bring? Yet answers rarely come. In such times we face a choice: will we reject all we have learned in the past about God’s goodness, or will we keep on believing, like David, that God can be trusted even though we do not understand what is happening in our lives? Holding on to David’s image of God as a mother, attentively protecting and tenderly caring for her offspring, can help us make the right choice.
How secure are you in God’s love? How easy do you find it to trust God in tough and confusing times? What things help you to keep on trusting?
Lord, You said that in the world we will have adversity, but we rejoice, as You have commanded us, because You have overcome the world.
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