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Devotional

Psalm 56

When I Am Afraid, I Trust in You

In Psalm 56, we see that Jesus was hunted like David. Though he was promised a throne, he fell into the hands of enemies. But his resurrection proves that he can rescue from the slander and threat of enemies.

What’s Happening?

David, the soon-to-be king of Israel, has been exiled from his homeland. King Saul is jealous of David’s rising fame and attempts to assassinate him four separate times (1 Samuel 18:28-29). With no choice and afraid for his life, David runs to the Philistines, Israel’s enemy (1 Samuel 20:12).

All day long his enemies pursue him (Psalm 56:1). All day long, like dogs, they snap at his heels (Psalm 56:2). All day long he’s on the run from the slander and propaganda of those who hate him (Psalm 56:5) But in his exhaustion and fear, he entrusts his life to God (Psalm 56:3). David knows God’s character and he knows what God has promised him. God has promised to give him a throne in the land he’s been exiled from. And if God is God, and if God cannot break his promises, what can any mortal man do to him (Psalm 56:5)?

The conspiracies of Saul and the murderous hopes of the Philistines will not win in the end (Psalm 56:6). David prays that God will bring down justice fitting to the pain they’ve caused him (Psalm 56:7). He demands that God collect and keep a record of every tear he’s shed under their cruelty and during his wanderings (Psalm 56:8). David wants justice for every gram of water he’s lost in the desert, and he knows God will do this for him (Psalm 56:9).

David then praises God and his promises once again because there is no human who can undo the promises of God (Psalm 56:11). So confident in his coming rescue, David speaks like it’s already happened. He’s eager to thank God with a sacrifice because he has been delivered from death and now walks with God undisturbed by his enemies (Psalm 56:13). 

Where is the Gospel?

Jesus is like David. He also lived as an exile under the jealous leadership of his homeland (Matthew 27:18). For years they pursued Jesus, slandered him, and eventually murdered him. Like God’s promise to David, God promised Jesus a throne next to him (Matthew 28:18). And like David, Jesus entrusts justice for his tears and sufferings into God’s hands (Mark 14:36). And because God is God, and because God cannot break his promises, God turns Jesus’ suffering into resurrection and victorious eternal life over his enemies. 

But we are also David: exiled, alone, slandered, and villainized. And this means Jesus is God’s promise to us. Justice will be done on our behalf and we will reign with God forever. The apostle Paul tells us that God has chosen us for glory, just as God chose David for kingship (Romans 8:30). And if God is for us, then what mortal can be against us (Romans 8:31)?

When Jesus died on the cross he proved to those who wish to malign and slander us that no charge or condemnation they bring will ever stick (Romans 8:33). Jesus died for the sins they keep pointing out, and Jesus was raised to life, and now sits at God’s right hand to bring down justice for every cruelty and minute of wandering we’ve been forced to endure (Romans 8:34). And more than that, like David eventually rose above his enemies, Jesus has raised us above ours too. We right now sit with the resurrected Jesus, walking with God in the light of his eternal life (Ephesians 2:6).

See for Yourself

I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who keeps a record of your tears. And may you see Jesus as God’s Word come true to bring you justice and raise you up out of your misery.

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