Psalms 57:0 ¶ To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.
This is another psalm of David that he gave to the chief Musician for use at the tabernacle. After looking at the Hebrew, I believe the CJB gave the best explanation for “Altaschith,” that it was to be sung to the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Michtam makes reference to a poem, and we are told that this poem was written when David fled from Saul in the cave. I would assume the Cave of Adullam as recorded in 1Samuel 22 and 1Chronicles 11.
Psalms 57:1 ¶ Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
Again, this psalm opens with a prayer. David asks for God to be merciful to him, to show him pity and favor, because he has placed his trust for his protection totally in Him. He has determined that the shadow of God’s outstretched arms is the safest place he can be until the wickedness planned against him has passed.
So often scripture pictures God as providing refuge for His people as a bird would protect her young by covering them with her wings. One of the most poignant is from the mouth of Jesus shortly before He died.
Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
I was reading through the Beatitudes this morning and began thinking about mercy. I have always heard it described as not being punished as we deserve and grace as being given what we don’t deserve. I think they are tied together in that mercy is one of the greatest acts of grace.
Psalms 57:2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
Psalms 57:3 He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
As David cries out to “God most high,” he is confident that He is working out His plan for David. As “God most high,” no one or nothing can thwart that plan. If necessary, he is confident that God will send angels from heaven to protect him from his enemy, Saul.
Selah – an opportunity for thought and reflection
After that pause, David is confident that God has heard his plea for mercy and will answer him based on His truth, His promise to make David king.
Thoughtful comment from Spurgeon: “He is quite safe, but yet he prays, for faith is never dumb. We pray because we believe. We exercise by faith the spirit of adoption whereby we cry. He says not I do cry, or I have cried, but I will cry, and indeed, this resolution may stand with all of us until we pass through the gates of pearl; for while we are here below we shall still have need to cry.”
Psalms 57:4 My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
David compares his enemies to lions on the hunt, who use spears and arrows as their teeth and a sharp sword as their tongue. The spears and arrows were the physical weapons they used against him, the sword of the tongue I think represents the slander they spread against him. Scripture is clear that the tongue is a powerful weapon for evil.
James 3:5–8 “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell…. But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
Psalms 57:5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
He follows the description of his enemies with a call for God to show Himself exalted and let His glory be evident to those on earth—especially his enemies.
Psalms 57:6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
David details that his enemies have set a trap for him, and he is feeling depressed. I think he is expressing that he is tired of being on the run. Eventually, they would be caught in their own trap.
Selah – another pause, another opportunity for meditation
Psalms 57:7 ¶ My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
Psalms 57:8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
It’s like David is trying to pull himself up out of his depression by determining to fix his heart on God. This is exactly what the prophet Isaiah said that we should do.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
What method does he use? Music. He determines to sing and praise God. I liked the NLT for verse 8: “Wake up, my soul! Wake up, O harp and lyre! I will waken the dawn with my song.”
I believe God gave us music to help us express our love and praise to him and to provide healing and encouragement when times are tough. Music is the language of heart and soul. I often turn to music and choose songs according to how I am feeling. Worship music is my favorite! So many times I have taken comfort from music that is filled with the truth of God’s promises and His love for us. Sadly, Satan also knows the power of music and has managed to corrupt it according to his own wicked purposes.
Psalms 57:9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
Psalms 57:10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
David is determined to praise God publicly in testimony to the nations. The predominant themes in his music are God’s mercy and truth.
I liked Coffman’s comment: “What a wonderful vision was that of David! Here he was hiding from enemies in a cave; but his mind encompasses the entire world; and he promises to sing the praises of God among the `nations,' that is, `the Gentiles,' or `the peoples' of the whole world. And indeed, is it not true? Has it not come to pass? These Psalms of David are surely sung all over the inhabited earth; and this has been true for centuries and millenniums of time!”
Psalms 57:11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.
David closes his psalm with a prayer that God be exalted as is His due and His glory made evident throughout the earth.
I am so looking forward to that time. I believe that David’s prayer will be answered in full when the LORD Jesus comes to take the throne of David in Jerusalem and rule as King of kings over the whole earth.