In times of trouble turn to God’s Word…
We often can gain encouragement and find direction from the Psalms.
The Bible tells us that David was a man after “God’s Own Heart” and yet there were many times in his life when he found himself being tried and crushed in The Crucible of life, with problems on every side and with no seeming way of Escape, yet God was always faithful and always made a way of Escape, even when there didn’t appear to be one!
Only God can save His people, not only from their sins, but He also gives us wisdom and direction through our trials and truthulations – the many testings that we face in life that come to prove the mettle of our faith and make us strong as well.
J.B. Phillips New Testament
Faith means the certainty of God’s love, now and hereafter
1-2 Since then it is by faith that we are justified, let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through Him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace, and here we take our stand, in happy certainty of the glorious things He has for us in the future.
3-5 This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles.
Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us.
Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.”
It’s only as we learn to face our fears, instead of running from them, that our Faith muscles get stretched, by pressing against the resistance of life, by hanging on to God’s promises and applying His direction, and in the process putting on the mind of Christ (Php 2:5).
Mind you the Bible says even of Jesus that He learned obedience through the things He suffered (Heb 5:8).
When surrounded by troubles, believers should call upon God for deliverance, trusting that He will rescue them out of their distresses.
Psalm 56 is such a song of trust, one in which David prayed to God to save him when he was under attack by enemies.
The historical background is an incident in David’s life when he fled from Saul to Gath, the hometown of Goliath.
In Gath he took up temporary residence among the Philistines (1 Sam. 21:10-15), only to escape to the cave of Adullam when hunted by his foes (1 Sam. 22).
The enemies in this psalm were not the Philistines but Saul and his men who dogged his steps in an attempt to take David’s life.
Understanding this, David’s first reaction was to be fearful (vv. 3-4,11). But through it all, David put his trust in the Lord, who prevailed on his behalf.
According to the psalm’s title, it was to be sung according to a tune commonly known as “A Dove on Distant Oaks.”
It was a bitter pill for David to have to seek refuge from his own countrymen among the Philistines in Gath, but the fierce hostility of King Saul drove him to it—or so he felt.
Psalm 56 describes some of the alternating waves of fear and faith which swept over him at that time.
Read Psalm 56
56:1-13 This was probably written on the same occasion as Psalm 34, when David fled from Saul to Philistine territory. He had to pretend to be insane before Achish when some servants grew suspicious of him (1 Samuel 21:10-15).
56:3-4 David stated, “What can mere mortals do to me?” How much harm can people do to us?
They can inflict pain, suffering, and death. But no person can rob us of our souls or the future beyond this life.
How much harm can we do to ourselves? The worst thing we can do is to reject God and lose a future with Him in eternity.
Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul” (Matthew 10:28).
Instead, we should fear God, who controls this life and the next.
56:8 No matter what our sorrows are, God cares! Jesus reminded us further of how much God understands us—he knows even the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30).
Often we waver between faith and fear. When you feel so discouraged that you are sure no one understands, remember that God knows every problem and sees every tear.
56:9-11 Fear can paralyze us from taking action. It can even cause physical problems.
And what could be more fearful than an enemy pressing in from all sides?
Faced with this situation, David suggested several antidotes for fear:
(1) Remember that God is always by your side,
(2) Trust Him to help you, and
(3) Praise Him for fulfilling His promises in the past.
This will give you confidence that God will continue to fulfill His promises to give you inner peace and ultimate rescue.
When faced with persecution, insecurity, or insurmountable odds, use these methods to overcome your fear.
56:13 In God’s presence we experience life and light. When God gives life to us, we have no need to fear stumbling or death.
God’s light illuminates the journey and helps guide us in our decisions. We have the freedom to remain steady in His presence.
Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…
David wrote Psalm 56 when the Philistines captured him in Gath (1 Samuel 21:10–15).
He wrote Psalm 57 while hiding in a cave.
God is trustworthy. He is a rock, a hiding place, a fortress. We have safety and comfort in Him.
Can you relate to David’s story? Has your Saul cut you off from the position you had and the people you love?
In an effort to land on your feet, have you stretched the truth? Distorted the facts? Are you seeking refuge in Gath?
Under normal circumstances you would never go there. But these aren’t normal circumstances, so you loiter in the breeding ground of giants.
The hometown of trouble. Her arms or that bar.
You walk shady streets and frequent questionable places. And, while there, you go crazy.
So the crowd will accept you, so the stress won’t kill you, you go wild.
You wake up in a Dead Sea cave, in the grottoes of Adullam, at the lowest point of your life, feeling as dumb as a roomful of anvils.
You stare out at an arid, harsh, unpeopled future and ask,
“What do I do now?”
I suggest you let David be your teacher. Sure, he goes wacko for a few verses. But in the cave of Adullam, he gathers himself.
The faithful shepherd boy surfaces again.
The giant-killer rediscovers courage.
Yes, he has a price on his head. Yes, he has no place to lay his head, but somehow he keeps his head.
He returns his focus to God and finds refuge.
“Refuge” surfaces as a favorite word of David’s.
Circle its appearances in the Book of Psalms, and you’ll count as many as forty-plus appearances in some versions.
But never did David use the word more poignantly than in Psalm 57.
The introduction to the passage explains its background: “A Michtam of David when he fled from Saul into the cave.”
Envision Jesse’s son in the dimness: on his knees, perhaps on his face, lost in shadows and thought.
He has nowhere to turn.
Go home, he endangers his family; to the tabernacle, he imperils the priests.
Saul will kill him; Gath won’t take him.
He lied in the sanctuary and went crazy with the Philistines, and here he sits.
All alone. But then he remembers: he’s not. He’s not alone.
And from the recesses of the cave a sweet voice floats: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by” (v. 1).
(From Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado)
Christians will be persecuted. In what ways are you persecuted? Who opposes you? When life gets hard, look to your refuge—God.
Friday, August 26
by Two Listeners
In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
— Psalm 56:11
Trials and troubles may seem to overwhelm you. They cannot do more than work My Will, and that Will you have said is your Will.
Do you not see that you cannot be destroyed?
From now a new Life is opening out before you. Yours to enter into the Kingdom I have prepared for you.
The sunlight of My Presence is on your paths. Trust and go forward unafraid. My Grace is sufficient for all your needs.
Now unto Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25)
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