When you face troubles, where does your mind go? Do you go inward? Do you turn to God?
Are you a morning person? Do you get up and get stuck in to the day? This psalm suggests that David is up at the crack of dawn. He is up crying out to God because he is aware of the challenges that face him. He is being pursued and needs help (v 1–3).
He is aware of external pressures and the evil present in the world, and shouts this out to God in song. I don’t think many of these lyrics would make it into many songs these days. There is an honesty and a rawness (vs 4–10).
David is reminded of God’s love and protection over his people (vs 11,12). He reminds us to take our refuge in God. We are not to run to false gods but to run to the love of our heavenly Father. How do we know we are loved? God has demonstrated his mercy in Jesus and we may know the truth of this love by his Spirit.
‘Father, it is so easy to lose sight of your love when challenges come. Thank you for reminding me that we can sing in the storms. We can be glad in you. Help me sing today and fix my eyes on Jesus. Help me sing in the rain as well as the sun. Amen.’
Our psalm sums up David’s story. The attribution ‘of David’ may not mean authorship, but simply that it was part of his collection, or was written for him, or about him. Regardless of authorship, the words are appropriate on his lips. David’s life demonstrates the acknowledgement of the psalm that God is the true king (v 2) and his trust in God’s protection finds its echo in the cry for help in verses 1–3. David has also learnt through his own bitter experience that ‘The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest’. (v 6b). He was like that once, covering up his adultery with murder (2 Sam 11). Yet, by God’s great love (v 7) he can enter God’s Temple and offer up his prayers to him. Indeed, he can count himself as one of the righteous (v 12) despite his former sins.
The key request of the psalmist, which David understands clearly, is to be led in the right path (v 8), especially as ‘enemies’ – both external and internal – can tempt or push one towards the crooked way, the easy short cut that ignores God and his commands. As the psalm calls on God’s judgement on human rebellion and intrigue (v 10), again David can look back and see this in the events of his own life. Those who persistently rebelled against God – Saul, Absalom, Sheba – all met their downfall, while David could take refuge and rejoice in the certainty of God’s protection (vs 11,12).
Read in the light of David’s story, this psalm is a great encouragement to all who are conscious of their sins and who feel less than righteous. David’s story demonstrates that those who repent and seek God can trust his unfailing love. He can be a shield against both external and internal enemies and lead us in the straight path.Csilla Saysell