READ Psalms 56 & 57
Yesterday we looked at the context of David’s writing in Psalms 56 & 57 and David’s subsequent request for God to show him grace. Not justice, but grace.
Psalm 56 opens with a true exhibition of supplication – presenting a need earnestly and humbly before God. David is not just asking for deliverance from a local gossip trying to ruin his reputation, or from a “frenemy” who is being mean and divisive in his community. David is asking for physical deliverance from an angry king who is seeking to kill him.
Read Psalm 56:3-4. How does David follow his supplication?
Previously, we have seen David exhibit the pattern of supplication + submission in this way: earnest need followed by a recitation of God’s character. How does Psalm 56:3-4 break from this pattern?
What does David do instead?
David does not recite God’s character back to Him as we have seen him do in previous chapters. Where we would expect to find David’s need followed with poetic praise proclaiming who God is in His character, we instead find David’s own resolve to place His trust in God.
Is there anything significant about this difference?
David is fleeing on foot from a powerful king who is seeking his life. In previous chapters in I Samuel we read about several times in which Saul tried to hurl a spear at David, or tried to have his servants kill David in his sleep. The danger David writes of is physical, tangible, and immediate. And rather than recounting that God is a valiant warrior who defends the cause of the needy – a prayer he in fact prays elsewhere in the Psalms! – he confesses humbly to God: I will place my trust in You. David’s submission here isn’t simply a recounting of God’s character, but a willful decision to place his trust and hope in God.
What would it look like for you today to willfully place your trust in God?
As we trace David’s progression in verses 3 and 4, we quickly see a pattern emerge. The pattern looks like this:
FEAR: 3 When I am afraid,
TRUST: I put my trust in you.
PRAISE: 4 In God, whose word I praise,
TRUST: in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
CONFIDENCE: What can flesh do to me?
It is easy for us as believers to get ourselves caught in a cycle of fear and trust. We fear losing a loved one, being alone, and circumstances outside of our control, etc. And so we turn to God in trust. We pray for faith, we work towards faith, and we lean into the things of faith until we sense a deep trust in God. But, very quickly many of us notice, we fall back into fear. And we repeat this pattern of fear and trust cyclically – oftentimes for years.
But David breaks this pattern. We don’t see fear and trust repeat over and over in these verses. What breaks the cycle?
David choses to follow trust with praise. Instead of oscillating between fear and trust, David choses to turn to praise. He praises God’s Word and recounts that God’s Word is trustworthy. And this, I believe, breaks the cycle for him. And I believe it can break the cycle for you and me as well.
What would it look like for you to follow trust with praise when you experience fear in your current situation?
How do you think this would change you? How do you think it would change your prayer life?
David concludes with a statement of ultimate confidence: What can flesh do to me? David, who has recently had a spear whizz by him as a king tried to end his life, now knows that those who are flesh and bones have nothing on the Lord Almighty. He has been afraid, he has willfully chosen trust, and he has followed it with praise. And this has led him to an ultimate confidence in the Lord.
In what ways does your confidence in the Lord need to grow or expand?
How might praise be a part of growing you in that direction?
Supplication: Confess to God the areas in your life in which you experience fear. Confess to Him the areas in your life in which you don’t have confidence in Him. Ask Him to grow your confidence in Him, and to build into your life a habit of following fear with trust and praise.
Submission: Place your trust in God. Use Psalm 56:3-4 to guide you as you seek to willfully entrust yourself and your situations to Him.