Loren Keplinger | The Voice of Zion February 2023 --
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. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. 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. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth. – Psalm 57:1–3,10,11
David, the writer of this psalm, found himself in a precarious place. As a young boy, he had been appointed by Samuel as King Saul’s successor. He had killed Goliath and was well known in the land. His best friend was Jonathan and his wife was Michal, both of whom were King Saul’s children. And now, due to jealousy, Saul wanted to kill his son-in-law David. Saul had already attempted to take David’s life, so David fled the palace and hid in a cave.
Saul’s army was now close by. They were sleeping, unaware, in the same cave as David and his supporters. David was in an extremely difficult situation. He had to continue to flee for his life. In desperation, he prayed to God.
We experience trials. Some are a minor interruption to our day. Others require more attention. Perhaps you have experienced trials, like David, when all other cares of life must be put aside. You are in such distress that you turn to God for help. In a very stressful moment in your life, you may be able to relate to David’s situation.
We know that God knows our lives intimately, and He blesses us with much. He also allows trials in our life, for His purposes. With our human minds, we don’t understand why this is so. But we do know that in great difficulty, when human help is unattainable or futile, we turn to God for help. Though we pray in these moments, we may struggle with trusting God. We may ask, how did God allow this trial in my life? We may recall times in our life when we were unthankful or disobedient to God and in this moment of penitence we may feel unworthy of the help we are requesting and desperately need.
After the difficult moment has passed, we may recognize why God has allowed this trial in our life. We may realize we needed a reminder of how small and weak we are as children in God’s kingdom.
Remember, dear traveler, that God is merciful and He cares for you. He hears the prayers of one in difficulty. The prophet Joel reminds us to turn to God in times of distress. “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil” (Joel 2:12,13).
David too was able to overcome his trials. Eventually he was made king of Israel, succeeding Saul. God blessed David’s life greatly. You may have also experienced that God has been merciful to you in trials, that He has allowed the time of difficulty to pass and continues to bless your life. We see in our text which is David’s prayer that he put his complete trust in God in his time of despair. “In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” We know that God promises to care for us in the world He created. We can, like David, be confident that God “shall send from heaven” the help we need in times of distress. We are also reminded by the Apostle James, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Though we don’t feel righteous, as believers we trust and believe that God’s Spirit which lives in our hearts makes us righteous. Remember to pray, dear friend, thanking God daily for all the goodness in your life. Also remember the important prayer that God would continue to keep us as His children in His kingdom of children. In time of deep trial, have full confidence in God as David did in prayer. Remember that God has promised to care for you as well, as a parent cares for his or her children, even when the child is undeserving.