Read: 1 Samuel 21:8 – 12
David feared Saul for good reason; Jonathan confirmed that Saul was planning to take David’s life. As he fled, David got food and a weapon from Abimelech the priest. The weapon was Goliath’s sword. With this sword in hand, he fled to Goliath’s home town of Gath, where he found himself in danger as great or greater from that which he fled.
Think About It: What part of David’s trouble was beyond his control? What part resulted from his own choice? Why would David make such a choice? Have I ever been in a problem situation that involved some circumstances beyond my control, and other circumstances for which I was responsible?
Prayer: For the wisdom to identify and accept responsibility for my part in life’s difficulties; for forgiveness and deliverance.
Read: Psalm 56:1 – 4; Hebrews 13:5 -6; Matthew 10:28 – 31
1 Samuel 21:12 says David greatly feared the king of Gath. Psalm 56:3 tells us what David did with that fear: he put his trust in the Lord, and asked himself a rhetorical question– if he trusted in God, what could man do to him? Jesus tells us that we are not to fear what men can do to us, even if they can kill us. David’s situation produced an understandable reaction of fear. He is an example not because he was fearless, but because he used his fear as a motivation to turn to God and to trust Him.
Think About It: Whom or what do I most fear? What should I do with that fear?
Prayer: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in God.”
Read: Psalm 56:4 – 6
David asked the question, “What can man do to me?” which expects the answer, “Nothing.” However, in vv. 5 – 6 he gave another answer to that question. David might well have added, “I wish I hadn’t asked,” as he listed the dangers he faces from his enemies.
Think About It: What are the things David says his enemies can do to him? Was David exaggerating the dangers? Have I ever gone through the process of entrusting myself to God, only to continue to fret about my troubles?
Prayer: For God’s help in letting go of my fears and anxieties.
Read: Psalm 56:7, Romans 12:14, 17 – 21; 1 Thessalonians 2:14 – 16
David’s imprecations against his enemies seem at first glance to fall short of the New Testament standard of forgiveness and blessing. However, David left vengeance in God’s hands, and when he linked their wickedness with deserved judgment, he did precisely what Paul did in 1 Thessalonians 2. David took another step in dealing with his fears by putting his enemies in God’s hands.
Think About It: Do I trust God to judge my enemies with justice? Do I leave revenge in God’s hands? Am I as honest as David and Paul about the anger I feel towards those who hurt me or those I love?
Prayer: I place my enemies in God’s hands; I leave vengeance to Him.
Read: Psalm 56:8 – 9; Psalm 139:3; 2 Kings 20:5; Romans 8:31 – 39
David took another step in mastering his fear: he considered God’s nature and His attributes. God knew exactly where David was and what he needed. God is compassionate; He kept track of every tear David shed. David affirmed his belief that God intended to do good to him.
Think About It: See Mark 1:40 – 41. Have I ever wondered, like the leper, if Jesus is willing to help me? What do I know about Jesus’ willingness to show compassion, based on the Gospels and my own previous experience? Can I affirm with David, “This I know, that God is for me?”
Prayer: Ask for the help I need based on the truth that God is for me.
Read: Psalm 56:10 – 11; Hebrews 12:1 – 4; Romans 5:3 – 5
David repeated the answer of Psalm 56:4 – 5 with this difference: now he had placed his enemies in God’s hands, had carefully considered God’s nature and God’s faithfulness. Before he was quoting the “right answer,” now he was personally trusting God.
Think About It: Hebrews 12:1 – 4 admonishes us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Matthew 14:25 – 32 presents a picture of what can happen if we take our eyes off Jesus in a time of stress. How am I doing at keeping my eyes on Jesus when the storms of life are raging?
Prayer: Help me keep my eyes on you, Lord!
Read: Psalm 56:12 – 13; 1 Samuel 21:13 – 15; 1 Corinthians 10:13
David credited God with saving his soul from death. Yet 1 Samuel records that David escaped from Gath by pretending insanity. This is not a contradiction. Unsound choices made in fear had led David into Gath. David was not making good choices until he turned to the Lord and dealt with his fear. Once David’s trust in God was restored, his mind was free to think his way out of the situation.
Think About It: Was David’s deliverance any less from God because clever strategy was involved? Have I ever felt boxed in by circumstances? Do I believe God will always provide a way of escape?
Prayer: Thank God for providing a way out of trouble; pray for wisdom to see that way.