blog meditation Psalms

Meditation Psalm 57

For the director of music. To the tune of ‘Do Not Destroy’. Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.

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.

I cry out to God Most High,
    to God, who vindicates me.
He sends from heaven and saves me,
    rebuking those who hotly pursue me –
    God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.

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.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

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.

My heart, O God, is steadfast,
    my heart is steadfast;
    I will sing and make music.
Awake, my soul!
    Awake, harp and lyre!
    I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
    let your glory be over all the earth.

(Ps. 57:1-11 NIV)

Again, we observe a familiar pattern as the Psalmist brings his lament before the Lord, the presence of God makes the difference.

The song explains the calling out to the Lord again and again

The structure of the Psalm is:

Lament v1-3

The enemies V4

Refrain v5

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

The enemies v6

Thanksgiving v7-10

Refrain v11

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

The double cry for mercy is because the Psalmist’s need is great, and he has an overwhelming sense of his own unworthiness. The Psalmist takes refuge under the shadow of the Lord’s wings. This is familiar covenant language. The Psalmist will stay there until the disaster is past. It is not that he wants to leave the protection of God once the disaster is over, but rather he wants to know that sense of special protection in the current disaster. We could make this our prayer – that we seek to hide under the shelter of God’s wing until the disaster of the virus has passed.

The Psalmist prays to the One and only God, God Most High, supreme above all powers, sublime in His existence. The Lord fulfils His purposes in the life of the Psalmist by bestowing on him , His love and faithfulness.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

(1 Jn. 3:1 NIV)

The Lord lavishes this love upon His people. God sends the answers to our prayers from Heaven and He saves us.

The Psalmist is surrounded by lions and ravenous beasts. These are vivid metaphors. The enemy have cunningly surrounded him, and they await their moment to tear him apart with their words. Their words are like spears, arrows, and sharp swords. There is no truth in the childhood rhyme ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ Words can tear a person apart where spears, arrows and sharp swords might be more merciful weapons to use.

When the Lord comes in justice, His righteousness will be established, the glory of the Lord will cover the whole earth, and God will be exalted above the heavens.

It is a recurring metaphor in the Psalms that the net that the enemy has set, or the pit that they have dug, will become a trap for themselves. The lies that they have told, the rumours that they have spread, the slander that they have propagated will rebound on them. Usually when people are intending slanderous harm, they go too far. They multiply a list of charges and the extent of the list looks unreasonable, they introduce inconsistencies, and so they end up falling into the pit of discredit that they had hoped to dig for the person they are attacking.

The Psalmist is ebullient with joy, like the conductor of a grand orchestra he alerts the various sections, ‘be ready on the harp, be ready on the lyre, the strings, the brass, the percussion’. But alas the orchestra is too small – so he awakens the dawn! Peterson’s paraphrases are always wonderful, in this kind of rhetoric, he says ‘Wake up, you sleepyhead sun.’ This is like the three verses in Psalm 98, where the Psalmist calls upon the nations, then the whole earth, then he employs the seas, the rivers to clap their hands and the mountains to sing. His heart is so overwhelmed by the glory of the Lord that he calls into action the whole inanimate creation to animate itself and join in the song. This has made his confidence in the Lord robust and steadfast, with no longer a thought about the attackers and their accusations. The Lord’s love and faithfulness come from heaven to his heart, and reaches back to the heaven, so great is the love with which he is loved. With love and faithfulness descending and ascending, it is no wonder that the glory of the Lord floods the earth and breaks through the heavens.

Praise God from whom all blessing flow. We thank You that You send Your love and faithfulness from heaven into our lives and that You have blessed us abundantly in the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord we thank You that You cause us to triumph in Christ. Receive our praise and thanksgiving in Jesus’ name. Amen.