In Psalm 59 David is besieged with no way to escape. The conspiring King Saul’s men surround his house like a growling pack of dogs waiting for a kill. David’s house is not a high enough refuge to keep him safe. He asks God to raise him to a higher fortress out of the reach of his snarling enemies (Psalm 59:1-2).
Even though David has committed no crime, he is hunted like a criminal (Psalm 59:3-4). His enemies besiege him with insults. Their words brandish threats against him and spew curses against God, thinking God can’t hear their slander (Psalm 59:6-7). But David knows God hears their threats and laughs at them (Psalm 59:8). In the past, God has defeated entire nations to rescue his people. So he pleads that God will do it again. David’s earnest prayers in the dark of night are then answered by God with deliverance in the morning.
God elevates David to Saul’s throne and sends his enemies away unsatisfied. God’s love for David is an impenetrable fortress against Saul and his dogs. God’s love is a higher and stronger fortress than any enemy. No matter what prowlers rise up against David, he has been raised higher than his enemies because God himself has been his protection (Psalm 59:9, 16). Caught up in the fortress of God’s presence, David sings through the night drowning out the unsatisfied whimpering of the dogs. David sings of God’s strength that rescued him, God’s love that remembered him, and God himself as his high fortress (Psalm 59:16-17).
This is how God rescues all his people. He turns his enemies’ bloodlust into unsatisfied howling. He turns his people’s cries of desperation in the night into songs of praise and deliverance in the morning.
Where is the Gospel?
Darkness and danger can’t consume those who belong to God. God always answers our cries for help in the night with deliverance in the morning.
Like David, many attempts were made on Jesus’ life. Though he was innocent of wrong, men hunted him down as he prayed for deliverance in the darkness of Gethsemane. Led by conspiring Judas, these enemies besieged Jesus with their bloodlust and slander (Matthew 26:47, 56). He was arrested, accused, beaten, and nailed to a cross (Luke 23:13-14). As he hung above the baying of the malicious crowd, they claimed God did not and could not save him (Matthew 27:40-43). But the darkness that surrounded Jesus in death wasn’t final. It was like the darkness before the morning.
Jesus was lifted up on the cross so he could be raised up from his grave (John 12:32). He was delivered to weakness in order to become a strong deliverer, the high fortress, and strength of God for his people (Colossians 1:22). His willingness to die proves God’s love. His resurrection proves God’s strength. God made Jesus King, and he protects all who run to him for refuge. In Jesus we enjoy the impenetrable fortress of God’s presence. We are surrounded by him, and no enemy—not even death—can reach us.
Jesus will also punish the bloodthirsty whose pride keeps their lips busy with sin. He laughs at the prowling nations (Psalm 2:4, 37:13; Revelation 19:15). His strength rescues us, his love remembers us, and he is our high fortress. Enemies may snarl at night, but they whine unsatisfied in the morning when the children of God sing of their deliverance in Jesus.
See for Yourself
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who delivers his people from danger and darkness. And may you see Jesus as the high fortress of God where not even death can reach those who come to him.