Read: 1 Samuel 24:1 – 7; Psalm 57:1 – 2; Philippians 4:6 – 7
In Psalm 57 David gave us his thoughts when he was in a desperate situation, hiding in a cave from Saul. The Psalm suggests at least seven things David did in his distress. The first: he prayed for God’s mercy.
Think About It: How else might David have responded to being cornered in a cave? The title of the tune to which this Psalm was sung is, translated from Hebrew, “Do Not Destroy.” Why did David not destroy Saul when he had the chance? Is my first response when I am in distress to pray?
Prayer: For the Lord to have mercy on me in my distress.
Read: Psalm 57:1 – 3
The second thing David did in his distress: he cried for mercy based on his vision of and awareness of God. Contrast this to Psalm 56, in which David’s prayer arose from his awareness of threats from his enemies.
Think About It: What did David say about God in Psalm 57:2 – 3? How have I experienced these truths about God?
Prayer: Thank God for His willingness to intervene on my behalf.
Read: Psalm 57:1; Psalm 17:8; Psalm 36:7; Psalm 63:7
The third thing David did in his distress: he prayed to the God with whom he had intimate fellowship, under whose wings he sought refuge like a chick to the mother hen, or like the priest in the Holy of Holies, under the shadow of the wings of the cherubim where God caused His presence to dwell.
Think About It: Where and when did David develop such an intimate fellowship with God? What am I doing to develop and maintain a close walk with God?
Prayer: “Just a closer walk with Thee, grant it Jesus, let it be.”
Read: Psalm 57:1; Psalm 37:10; Ecclesiastes 8:10 – 14
The fourth thing David did in his distress was to encourage himself with the knowledge that the day of disaster would pass. Scripture records the phrase “it came to pass” 457 times; not once does it say, “It came to stay.”
Think About It: What were my biggest worries ten years ago? Five years ago? How were those issues resolved? Do I believe of my present anxieties, “This too shall pass?”
Prayer: That I might learn to “have no anxiety, but in everything by prayer and supplication to make my requests known to God”; that I might have faith to believe, whatever my trouble, “this too shall pass.”
Read: Psalm 57:6, Psalm 9:15 – 16; Psalm 35:7 – 8
The fifth thing David does in his distress was to express faith that his enemies would fall into the pit they dug for him. This is a repeated theme in the Psalms, and David witnessed it at work when Saul walked right into the cave where David was hiding.
Think About It: What are some contemporary examples of evildoers falling into the pit they have dug for others? How can knowledge of this truth help me?
Prayer: That God will keep me from digging pits and from falling into them.
Read: Psalm 57:7 – 11; Job 1:20 – 22
The sixth thing David did in his distress was to praise God. David moved from consideration of his problem to such a certainty of deliverance that he broke forth in praise to God. Job also worshiped in his time of distress, but without the certainty of deliverance that David expressed. David showed that contemplating God’s nature can produce such a sense of confidence that praise comes spontaneously, in spite of circumstances. Job, while he fell short of David’s confidence, nevertheless demonstrated that regardless of feelings, worshiping God is the right thing to do.
Think About It: When in great difficulties, am I more like David, or more like Job? How can I develop David’s confidence in the face of trials?
Prayer: For David’s certainty of deliverance; for Job’s perseverance in trials.
Read: Psalm 57:9; Philippians 3:1 – 15
The seventh thing David did in his distress was to focus on his mission from God, which consistently in the Psalms and in the history of his life could be expressed in terms of glorifying God before the world. Paul was also motivated by his sense of calling and mission from God to press on through all sorts of trials and difficulties.
Think About It: What is my mission from God?
Prayer: For a clear sense of God’s call and mission and the courage to follow that call whatever the obstacles and difficulties.