For the director of music. A miktam of David when Saul had sent men to watch David’s house. Saul sent the men to kill David. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” 1 God, save me from my enemies. Keep me safe from people who are attacking me. 2 Save me from those who do evil. Save me from people who want to kill me. 3 See how they hide and wait for me! Lord, angry people plan to harm me, even though I haven’t hurt them in any way or sinned against them. 4 I haven’t done anything wrong to them. But they are ready to attack me. Rise up and help me! Look at what I’m up against! 5 Lord God who rules over all, rise up. God of Israel, punish all the nations. Don’t show any mercy to those sinful people who have turned against me. 6 My enemies are like a pack of barking dogs that come back to the city in the evening. They prowl around the city. 7 Listen to what pours out of their mouths. The words from their lips are like swords. They think, “Who can hear us?” 8 But you laugh at them, Lord. You make fun of all those nations. 9 You give me strength. I look to you. God, you are like a fort to me. 10 You are my God, and I can depend on you. God will march out in front of me. He will let me look down on those who tell lies about me. 11 Lord, you are like a shield that keeps us safe. Don’t kill my enemies all at once. If you do, my people will forget about it. Use your power to pull my enemies up by the roots like weeds. Destroy them. 12 They have sinned with their mouths. Their lips have spoken evil words. They have cursed me and lied. Let them be caught in their pride. 13 Burn them up in your anger. Burn them up until there isn’t anything left of them. Then everyone from one end of the earth to the other will know that God rules over the people of Jacob. 14 My enemies are like a pack of barking dogs that come back into the city in the evening. They prowl around the city. 15 They wander around looking for food. They groan if they don’t find something that will satisfy them. 16 But I will sing about your strength. In the morning I will sing about your love. You are like a fort to me. You keep me safe in times of trouble. 17 You give me strength. I sing praise to you. God, you are like a fort to me. You are my God, and I can depend on you.
Verses 9-10 and 16-17 are already well marked in my Bible for this psalm. Verses that in times past have encouraged me, declared God’s love for me, declared that He is my place of safety and protection. But I’ve never put them into the context of the psalm and thought about the feelings of the writer – David. Men are lying in wait outside his house ready to do gross harm, to kill him. But David, instead of seeming panicked or overwhelmed, takes the time and another perspective on his situation. He leaves his enemies for God to sort out. He chooses to praise, He chooses to focus on God’s strength, God who loves him and will deliver him.
My life’s situations have certainly never been anywhere near David’s situation and yet we both worship the same God. David’s faith and trust in God is so sure, so secure, is mine? Where am I placing my confidence? I feel David’s’ challenge to me to always seek the other perspective – and keep my eyes on God.
I want to make verse 17 my prayer today ..” O my strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.” (NRSV) Amen.
Written by Suzie Hodgson