1 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. 2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
3 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.
4 My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.
Other versions list a heading saying this is a “Prayer for Rescue from Persecutors,” a Psalm of David when he was fleeing from Saul in the cave. Even though we may not face that exact type of persecution, I think the day is coming when we might. Even now there is not a general favorable attitude toward Christianity as there has been in past decades in this country. Really, it’s unusual to have a general public attitude favorable toward Christianity — in many countries throughout much of history, persecution has been the norm.
And even if we’re not facing persecution for our faith or our stand for Christ, sometimes we can face opposition as David did when someone takes it upon themselves to try to thwart our cause or decides they just don’t like us. Many people battle “office politics” or family problems or bullies or any number of contrary people or circumstances. So I believe this Psalm can be applicable to any situation in which we face opposition.
Our first recourse, as David’s was, is to cry unto the Lord, trusting Him to undertake, protect, and deliver us. I love the way verse 1 is worded. I love that God is our refuge.
I love also that David is not only concerned for his own situation: he is concerned for God’s glory. He wants God to be exalted in his situation. You see this echoed throughout the Psalms. In Psalm 109:26-27, David says, “Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.” Too often we just want deliverance; we want out of the problem or situation, as fast as possible, and we may remember to thank the Lord, but we don’t often think about wanting Him to be exalted or His glory to be seen in the midst of it all. I am touched by how, in many of the Psalms, David doesn’t just cry out for help, but his heart for his God is seen.
Once again David tells the Lord of his circumstances, then focuses on God’s mercy, faithfulness, and ability to deliver. My heart is fixed….other versions use the word “steadfast” instead of fixed. We could say David steadfastly fixes his heart on the Lord. In verses 7-10 he looks forward in faith. When he says he will praise the Lord, I am not sure if he means “I will praise you now despite my circumstances: I will focus on You and not the dilemma” or if he means “I will praise you in faith, knowing that You will save me.” I think there are ways that both views are applicable.
I am so thankful that in the midst of any calamity, we can trust in God’s mercy and take refuge in Him.
See Butterfly Kisses for more thoughts on this Psalm. and feel free to join us in meditating on them.