Place of Refuge
Dear God, powerful and loving, I look to You for strength and compassion. Fashion me to be a tough yet tender disciple.
Read PSALM 57:1-11
 For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Circle me, Lord. Keep love within, keep strife without. Keep hope within, keep despair without. Keep peace within, keep harm without” (R. Simpson, Celtic Daily Light).
When things are tough, where do you seek refuge: under the blankets, in comfort food, in hyperactivity, or in comfort from another person? Maybe you have an actual place where you like to go. We’re told in the introduction to this psalm that David had found physical refuge from Saul’s murderous wrath in a cave, and yet more importantly he sought refuge in God himself, “in the shadow of your wings” (1). We don’t know which occasion this was (1 Sam. 22:1; 24:3) but it’s clear that, as in the previous psalm where he starts by crying out for God’s mercy, he feels desperate.
Yet David isn’t totally cowed by his situation. Amid his plea for mercy, for deliverance from his enemies, he simultaneously affirms his confidence in God and his saving purposes for him as an individual (2). Then the reality of his situation seems to hit him again and he describes in graphic terms the hostility he faces (4,6). Here we see the struggle that exercising trust in God can be. It’s not that David doesn’t believe in the sheer scale of God’s love and faithfulness or that it was uniquely available to him (3,10). It’s more that he has to exercise a choice to worship God for who he is (5,7-11) rather than allow his view of his circumstances to be framed by them alone.
Exercising trust in God is not always easy, but David provides a clue about how to do it. A determination to worship, giving our whole attention to thinking about who God is and what he’s like, focusing on this rather than our own situation, will strengthen us. So, to repeat the question: when things are tough where do you seek refuge?
Prayerfully reflect on the usual way you cope with life’s problems. What, from David’s response in this psalm, could you begin to put into practice on a regular basis?
Mighty God, You are my refuge when trouble strikes. I need to run to You rather than from You. I know You are greater than anything going on in my life. I praise You.
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