This is one of David’s prayers for deliverance from his wicked and God-defying enemies. He begins with recognition of his utter dependence on God (“if you are silent, I might as well give up and die”), moves to a cry for help and then rails against his enemies and their evil. Then, in the last half of the psalm, he moves to rejoicing as he praises God for hearing him, acknowledges His protective covering and ends with a prayer for the people of Israel.
The raw authenticity of David is striking in the psalm and, as is the case in so many other psalms, he seems to hold nothing back, either in his pleas for help or his passionate opposition to those who are committing evil deeds. There are no simplistically happy “Facebook faces” in the Psalms and we may sometimes feel uncomfortable reading the sentiments, but if God Himself called David “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22), wouldn’t we do better to follow the example rather than dismiss it? At the very least, it seems to me that it’s going to be easier to reach the world if they see that we are being unflinchingly honest in our dealings with God.
In the vein of that honesty, what I love most about this psalm is David’s recognition the refuge that God is for him. God Himself is his rock, his strength, his shield, his fortress and his shepherd. Trust in Him leads to help and David’s heart is filled with joy (v7). This is so much more than a commitment to a good idea or a right way of living: it’s a happy acceptance of complete dependence on God’s strength. May we do the same every day as we’re reminded of where our joy truly lies.
- STEPHEN NELL