READ Psalms 56 & 57

Today we are going to look at the overall purpose of Psalm 57. But first, we must consider it in light of the historic, original context.

Recall I Samuel 21. What references do you see to David’s current situation in Psalm 56?

Let’s break this down into the follow sections – likely, the original stanzas of the Hebrew song:

Read each stanza and try to summarize David’s prayer in each.

Psalm 56:1-3:

Psalm 56:4:

Psalm 56:5-10:

Psalm 56:11:

The first thing David asks for is mercy. This week, we’ve reviewed three common words that Christians use interchangeably. But, they have quite distinct meanings.


Justice is when God gives me the punishment I deserve.

Mercy is when God doesn’t give me the punishment I deserve.

And Grace is when God gives me a gift I do not deserve.


David asked for grace in the face of his enemies, and for justice when it seemed his enemies were getting away with their plot to kill him. Now, he asks for mercy.


Why do you think David asks for mercy here?

Consider his situation – what would you ask God for in that situation?

Does anything in verse three ring familiar from our previous weeks of study? (Hint: we are seeing a familiar word from a previous word study here!)


David is asking for mercy as he appeals to God’s covenant faithfulness! David is reminded here that God has made a promise to save His people – not because they deserve it, but because God is merciful! David calls upon the God of the Covenant and asks for Him to be merciful to David in his desperate situation.


Reread the entire Psalm with this in mind. What insights does this open up to you?

Give your attention to the third stanza of this Psalm (verses 6-10). What is the tone of this stanza? Why do you think this is?


David, cowering in a cave somewhere as he hides from his enemies, gives glory to the God who delivers! David expresses the majority of his ink telling of the steadfastness of God, His unchanging faithfulness.


The final stanza (verse 11) gives us a summary statement for the Psalm. This statement serves as a concluding or purpose statement for the song. Summarize it.

What is David’s purpose in writing this Psalm according to verse 11?


And David wants to leave us with one overwhelming truth: we are saved to sing! David knows that he has been set free from his enemies so that God might get the glory. As God delivers him from his immediate enemy (Saul) and his ultimate enemies through His Covenant-keeping way, God will be glorified. And that is the ultimate purpose for David’s deliverance.


Recall the purpose of the book of Psalms as a whole. How might this Psalm set the tone for the Israelites who use this as a part of their liturgy of worship?


You and I are set free and saved ultimately so that God will get the glory! God keeps His promises so that He will be glorified! As we journey along from fear to trust to praise, God gets the glory! And that is the ultimate purpose of Psalm 57 and of our own prayer lives.


How often do your prayers include praise? How often do your prayers give God glory for His salvation?

How do you need to grow in this?



Supplication: Confess to God that your life and your salvation are ultimately for His glory. Ask Him to grow you in trusting Him and in actively giving Him glory for His salvation.

Submission: Praise God for who He is as a merciful, covenant-keeping God! Praise Him and give Him glory!

Author: amygannett

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  • Hi Amy! I think there may be an error in this post. At the top when we break the psalm down, do you mean to refer to Psalm 57? Or is 56 correct? Regardless it was a good exciercise for both psalms. 🙂