Psalms 56; 120
This I know: God is on my side. O God, I praise your word. Yes, LORD, I praise your word. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 56:9-11 NLT
David was in deep trouble. He had sauntered into the Philistine city of Gath, the hometown of Goliath, who David had killed in battle, and he was wearing Goliath's sword and seeking shelter. What was he thinking? Why in the world would he run right into the enemy's hands expecting them to protect him from Saul? David had killed their champion. He had put an end to the Philistine lopsided oppression of Israel. So when he showed up in Gath, the people are shocked that David has walked right into their hands. King Achish is almost persuaded by David to provide the shelter he seeks. Maybe Achish thinks David can be turned against the Israelites and become the new Philistine champion. He could become their new secret weapon. But the people see trouble. They don't trust David or believe his story. Suddenly David sees the insanity of what he has done. He has stepped into a hornets nest. So his solution is to feign insanity. The people think he is crazy to have shown up in the first place, so he obliges them by acting like he's crazy. He puts on quite a performance, drooling in his beard and acting as if he has lost his mind. Not exactly the kind of actions to help build self-esteem. But it does the trick. It convinces Achish that David is nuts, so he releases him, and David escapes.
And sometimes after the events of this day, David writes, "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You" (Psalm 56:3 NASB). Do you think David was afraid that day? I think he was petrified. He was in a predicament that looked like it couldn't end in anything but disaster, and somehow he had escaped with his life. He was still alive and he was learning to trust in God. "O God, I praise your word. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" (Psalm 56:4 NLT). "I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?" (Psalm 56:11 NLT).
In spite of all that was going on around him and happening to him, David was learning that God really was on his side. And with God on his side, he didn't have to worry. God had rescued him from death that day in Gath. He may have put on a good performance, but David knew that it was God who had rescued him and not his acting ability. "For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life–giving light" (Psalm 56:13 NLT). David had made the decision to seek refuge with the enemy. His choice had resulted in a really bad situation. But God was still with him and for him. God rescued David that day. Just like He does you and me each and every day of our lives. God is on our side. He is intimately aware of every circumstance of our lives. He never falls asleep on the job or turns His back and forgets about us. He knows every tear we cry, every difficulty we encounter, every stupid decision we make, every predicament we put ourselves into. "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book" (Psalm 56:8 NLT). He knows. He cares. He rescues. He restores. He is on your side. What can mere man do to you?
Father, I have put myself in a lot of bad circumstances over the years, but I am still here. Not because I am smart and clever, but because You are faithful and merciful. You are on my side. You are so aware of all my circumstances and You use them to teach me to trust You and not myself. Help me to see Your hand at work in my life. Give me the capacity to look back and see You at work in those moments when all was lost and failure seemed inescapable. You were on my side and You delivered, so I will put my trust in You. Amen