When David Fled From Sha’ul into the Cave

Psalm 57: 1-11

For the director of music. Set to the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David, a miktam.
When David had fled from Sha’ul into the cave.

DIG: David cries out to ADONAI to vindicate him. In what way did David need to be vindicated (see First Samuel 24:12)? In the court of heaven, which heart was cold as ice and which heart was righteous? How confident was David of his innocence? What evidence could he offer as his defense?

REFLECT: What promises of the LORD do you lean on in hard times? Can you expect God’s protection from every disaster? Why or why not? Verses 5 and 11 are the same except for their context. Verse 5 expresses faith in hard times and verse 11 expresses joy after deliverance. Which context is yours right now? How can you pray?

One of God’s greatest gifts to His children is joy in the midst of sorrow, triumph in the midst of tears. Yeshua knew that joy, the joy of ADONAI’s presence and power, though He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). Many are able to endure pain when they see relief coming. To have joy in the midst of the pain, however, is a different matter. Rabbi Sha’ul tells us that we . . . rejoice in our troubles (Romans 5:3 CJB). And he also reminded the Thessalonians that although they were going through severe troubles, they received the Word with joy from the Ruach HaKodesh (First Thessalonians 1:6 CJB).

It was on the voyage to the colonies from England that John Wesley first came into contact with Moravian settlers (started by Jan Hus and became part of the Bohemian Reformation). Wesley was influenced by their deep faith and spirituality rooted in pietism. At one point in the voyage a storm came up and broke the mast off the ship. While he panicked, the Moravians calmly sang hymns and prayed. This experience led Wesley to believe that the Moravians possessed an inner strength that he lacked. Hence, he trusted in Christ alone for salvation, and had the assurance Jesus had taken away his sins.

In Psalm 57 David experienced the calamities coming from an enemy who would devour him. It was as if he was among the lions out for a kill. Although they set a trap for him, he was confident it was they who would fall into it. In the midst of the crisis, David declared his trust in God, hiding in the shadow of His wings, knowing God would act on his behalf. This psalm consists of two sections, each ending with a refrain in verses 5, 11, in which he expressed his desire that God should be exalted.137

Prayer: David sought ADONAI’s protection. Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me now, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster (like a raging storm) has passed. Taking refuge in the shadow of YHVH’s wings is a metaphor for protection and shelter (Psalm 17:8, 36:7, 61:4, 91:4). See the commentary on Ruth As – Bo’az’s Grace and Ruth’s Gratitude. Yeshua also said: How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings (Matthew 23:37a). I cry out to God Most High, to YHVH, who vindicates me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me – Elohim sends forth his grace and truth (Psalm 57:1-3). Selah

The Selah is unusual in the middle of this section. It may be intended to underscore the sin of the enemy, and so corresponds with the other Selah in verse 6, which is also in an unusual place, and points to the enemies ruin as this does to their wickedness.

As a hunted man, David prayed in answer to the attacks upon him. I am surrounded by lions. I am lying down among people breathing fire, whose hearts are blazing in hatred and a burning desire to destroy me, men whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue sharp-edged swords. David looked up from his own problems to see the big picture. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth (Psalm 57:4-5 CJB). In such a crisis, this is equivalent to: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Dp – When You Pray, Go Into Your Room and Close the Door), was both a victory in itself and a weapon against the enemy.138 If the LORD is exalted and His glory can be clearly seen, then the lies of David’s enemies will fade into nothing. After his prayer, the tables were turned.

Praise: They spread a net for my feet – I was bowed down in distress. Being human, David feels the effects of their pursuit despite his trust in God; but that trust saves him from the utter despair that leads to surrender. They dug a pit in my path – but they have fallen into it themselves (Psalm 57:6). Selah

The LORD is true to His word. The wicked receive their due judgment and the righteous draw comfort from ADONAI’s rule over the earth. Evil people scheme in order to bring the righteous down. They are like hunters who catch their prey with a net or by digging a pit. They use each and every scheme so as to stumble the righteous, which David readily admits. But David trusted in YHVH’s promise to live up to those who are bowed down (Psalm 145:14) and to keep the godly from slipping (Psalm 37:2 and 55:22). David rejoiced in Ha’Shem’s goodness to him, for he had seen the wicked entrapped in their own scheming (Psalm 7:15 and 9:15). Evil returns on those who practice it like a boomerang. Those who commit it come to nothing because in due time their foot will slip (Deuteronomy 32:25).139

Over the fall of the wicked is the newly found security of David. My heart, Elohim, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast. Out of a grateful heart David sings songs of praise and makes a joyful noise on his instruments: I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, my harp and lyre! By his singing and praise he will awaken at dawn. So great is his gratitude that he prays that all the Gentile nations may know and fear the LORD. His worship becomes a witness. I will praise you, Adonai, among the nations: I will sing of You among the peoples. For great is Your chesed(see the commentary on Ruth Af – The Concept of Chesed), reaching to the heavens. God’s kindness, goodness, mercy, love and compassion is higher than our highest thoughts and binds heaven and earth together. Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, be lifted up in worship O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth (Psalm 57:7-11).

As all true believers are being renewed by the Holy Spirit, we are coming alive in worship. The devil hates this and wants to do all in his power to keep God’s people from praising Him with all their hearts; thus the Adversary sends opposition and destruction. He seeks to snatch away the joy in our lives and the truth of God’s Word. He wants to choke out the fruitfulness of the Word, and so the storms come. ADONAI, however, gives us songs for the storms. As our voices awaken our praise, the dawn will come and we will sing until we are in the very presence of YHVH. Amen. Come Lord Jesus.140


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