Thursday, April 15, 2010

Surreal Confident Trust When in Fear – Psalm 57

“My heart is steadfast, O God,

my heart is steadfast;

I will sing and make music...

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;

I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;

your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

let your glory be over all the earth.”

~Psalm 57:7, 9-11 (NIV).

This psalm could possibly be the greatest testimony to God’s power to deliver someone spiritually over the whole biblical corpus. We can hardly believe the terror that David could possibly have been experiencing if not for his faith in God as he sat there pondering his fate in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22), awaiting Saul and his cronies to find him.

David clearly knew how to make the best of any situation. To think that as a situational outlaw he would again inspire other forlorn men and become their leader in the cave (1 Samuel 22:2).

But the psalm itself is a call to trust God even before news and word of his delivery of us has been noted.

This surreal confidence is based upon the psalmist’s faithfully implored call to God to exalt himself. He beckoned God, and God answers him continually in the midst of his circumstances; such holy cunning has David in this historically-real drama movie with himself cast as hero and Saul as villain. The movie, disregarding sequels, ends finally in 1 Samuel 31. The hero goes on; the villain takes his own life.

And its application for us is utterly profound. No matter the strength of the trial, challenge, or indeed, persecution, we can truly trust God to exalt himself—and in such—deliver us, for his will is sought done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

An Evening Psalm

“This is an evening Psalm, and he who lies down trusting... wakes up trilling. It is not the dawn which wakes him; he wakes it. This is the way to deal with fears and foes.”

~W. Graham Scroggie (italics added for emphasis).

Is it perhaps possible that the psalmist—and indeed ourselves, in our lamentable time—can exalt God so well that we—in our interminable faith—create the blessing? Is it possible that God works in our hearts in such times to raise us directly in spiritual victory over the mightiest fear or foe?

On an evening when we can pour our hearts out to God, if we can save even some of our grief to exalt him, perhaps too we can be delivered of the pain by morning.

The thought Scroggie leaves us with is wonderful in gospel magnificence:

“There can be no triumph where there is no trouble.”

So magnifically is this psalm written we see its resonant shimmer in others, notably Psalms 36:5, 56, 58, 59 and 108:1-4.

Selah – pause and calmly think of this.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

General References:

James L. Mays, Psalms – Interpretation Series (Louisville, Kentucky: John Knox Press, 1994), p. 209-10.

W. Graham Scroggie, Guide to the Psalms – A Comprehensive Analysis of the Psalms (Vol. 2) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1995), p. 42-44.

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