READ Psalms 56 & 57
Today we are going to consider the end of Psalm 56 and the beginning of Psalm 57. While most of the Psalms were not written in chronological order, most scholars believe these were written in tandem since they were both written as a reflection on sequential events (David’s flight from Saul).
Read Psalm 56:12-13. How does David conclude this Psalm?
Does this seem fitting? Does anything about it surprise you?
As David pens his conclusion to this Psalm, he does two things. First, he commits to God that he will fulfill his vows and offer thanks offerings. And, second, he praises God that salvation has come.
Let’s first consider David’s commitment to perform his vows and offer thanks offerings.
Look back at Psalm 56 as whole. What vows or commitments has David made in his times of trial?
It may not be apparent at first, but David’s only recorded commitment here is this: I put my trust in you … I shall not be afraid. David’s commitment that he is affirming to God is that he will keep his willful choice to place his trust in God for salvation.
When you and I are afraid it is easy for us to make shallow commitments to God. I have been more guilty of this than I would like to admit. When I am afraid of losing someone I love, afraid for my own situation, or afraid of unknown circumstances, I am quick to tell God that I will trust Him no matter what. And, when salvation comes by God’s hand, what do I do? I place my trust squarely back on my circumstances. When I’m afraid of financial ruin, I ask God to provide. When He does, I sigh a sigh of relief and assure myself that everything will be okay – not because God is in control and will provide, but because my bank account is full. When I’m afraid of losing someone I love, I tell God that I will trust Him no matter what the outcome is. And, when He returns my loved one to me, I sleep well again at night – not because God is my deliverer, but because Austin is sleeping next to me in bed again.
But David doesn’t do this! Instead, he commits to keep his promise to trust God. In an ongoing way, as he rejoices that salvation has come, he reminds himself to keep his vows – his vows to trust in God alone.
In what ways do you need to practice this in your own life? Think back on commitments you’ve made to God in times of trouble. Are there any commitments you still need to keep?
Second, David praises God that he has been delivered from death. This might seem strange to you because David is likely still crouched somewhere in a cave. His circumstances have not changed, but his perspective has.
Read Psalm 56:1 and Psalm 56:13. How has David’s posture changed over the course of this Psalms?
David’s confidence in God’s deliverance is so sure that he praises God for his salvation as if it is right in front of him. Over the course of praying this Psalm – as he has recounted the character of God, willfully chosen to trust Him, and recited to himself the pattern of fear-trust-praise, David has been transformed.
In what ways do you hope prayer will transform you? How can using Psalm 56 as a model for your prayer life grow you in these ways?
Read Psalm 57:1-3. What does this reveal about David’s situation? About his journey of faith?
David’s trouble is not over. His life will, in an ongoing way, experience difficulty, fear, and trials. Tomorrow, we’ll conclude our week of study by looking at Psalm 57 in full, but we need to understand this today: Even though this life will always have trouble, Christians can always have full confidence in the salvation of the Lord. The first verses of Psalm 57 do not negate the confidence of the concluding verses of Psalm 56 – God is still on the throne, and is always, always, always able to save.
Supplication: Confess to God all the ways in which you do not trust Him. Ask Him to grow your trust in His unfailing, unchanging character.
Submission: Confess to God that you believe His salvation will never fail. Confess to Him that He is the only One able to give you a Psalm 56:13 perspective in a Psalm 57:1 situation.