1 Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.
2 Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High.
3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
5 Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.
7 Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.
8 Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?
9 When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.
10 In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.
11 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
12 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.
13 For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
I am glad that a warrior such as David was could admit that he was afraid. He had very real enemies after him off and on throughout his life; he hid for his life in caves; he fought victoriously against his foes, foes who not only battled him physically but who “wrested his words” (v. 5). Even though he had much more reason to be afraid than I have had, verse 3 has been a comfort to me many times. When fear come, I can dwell on them — which doesn’t help, and, in fact, only make things worse — or I can turn to God in faith.
God not only cares for and delivers us from our fears: He keeps track of our wanderings and our tears (v. 8).
It’s interesting that David says, and repeats, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Sometimes we want God to just remove fear from us, and sometimes He does, but this indicates an act of the will. David chooses to place his faith in God, and he chooses to praise Him. I don’t get the idea that this just means He will praise God after he is delivered from his enemies, but also that as he wrestles with his fear, he chooses to praise God and exercise faith instead of focusing on his fear.
Verse 13 seems to expand David’s trust beyond just the immediate need for deliverance from death by his enemies, but to his need for God’s grace to keep him from falling as he walks before God each day. This is another verse I have prayed and leaned on often.
For more thoughts on this Psalm or to add your own, see Butterfly Kisses.