May 28 2023
Today, Sunday May 28
Depending on God to Defend Us
To the Chief Musician. Set to ‘Do Not Destroy.’ A Michtam of David when Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him.
“Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. There they are, bellowing with their mouths with swords in their lips— for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?” But you, O LORD, laugh at them; you hold all the nations in derision.
O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. My God in his steadfast love will meet me; God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
Kill them not, lest my people forget; make them totter by your power and bring them down, O Lord, our shield! For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter, consume them in wrath; consume them till they are no more, that they may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah
Each evening they come back, howling like dogs and prowling about the city. They wander about for food and growl if they do not get their fill. But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.
So far, we have learned from the title of Psalm 59 that David is in danger of his life. But David, already has learned by experience that he can depend on God to defend him from his enemies. We can learn from David that God's people can always turn to the Lord in times of danger and testing because He hears our prayers (vv. 1-2), and because the Lord knows our hearts (vv. 3-4). David begins the psalm with his request for the LORD to defend him (v. 1) and he affirms his faith in God’s defense in vs. 9, “I will wait for You, O You his Strength; For God is my defense.”
I don’t know about you, but I have a strong tendency to defend myself when I feel threatened or accused of something. I immediately start trying to make my case and as I do, my voice gets higher and higher. It is very difficult for me to keep my mouth shut and let the LORD defend my cause or my innocence. David clearly shows that he is dependent upon God to save him, and he acknowledges that God knows his heart.
David also believes that God sees his enemies and knows their heart and evil intentions. David's graphic description of Saul's men (vv. 6-7 and 12-15) reveals how much he held them in disdain. They were nothing but prowling, snarling dogs, frothing at the mouth, spewing out evil words, and rummaging in the garbage dumps of the city. The Jews usually referred to the Gentiles as dogs! Finally, as our great Deliverer, the Lord defends our cause (vv. 8-9). The "dogs" were prowling and growling, but the Lord was laughing (see Psalm 2:4 and 37:13). By the way, I believe we have a lot of “dogs” loose in America today!
The spies were watching David, but David was "on watch" looking for the Lord to act (vv. 9, 17; see 121:3-5, 7-8). God was his strength and fortress (Psalm 46:1), and he had no reason to be afraid because he knew that God is the righteous Judge (vv. 10-17). God would not only take care of David, but He would also confront David's enemies and deal with them. If David's requests seem brutal and not in the spirit of Christ, keep in mind that Israel's future and the future of David's chosen dynasty were both at stake. This was not a personal crusade on David's part, for he asked God to fight the enemy for him (Rom. 12:17-21).
When it comes to facing and fighting the enemy, the Lord goes before us (v. 10). The mercy (lovingkindness) of the Lord would go before David and prepare the way for victory, just as when David killed the giant Goliath. The Lord also fights for us (vv. 11-13a) by scattering the enemy, causing them to wander and bringing their attack to a halt. The Lord is our Shield who can protect us in any battle (Psalm 3:3; 18:2; Gen. 15:1; Deut. 33:29), but we must make a distinction here. David was willing that God destroy the Gentile nations and thus reveal His great power (v. 13), for God's victories bear witness to those who don't know Him.
However, David asked God not to kill Saul and his men with some sudden judgment (v. 11), but to allow their own sins to catch up with them and consume them gradually. This would be a strong witness and a warning to the people of Israel and teach them lessons they could learn no other way. God's victories glorify His great name (v. 13b) and magnify the name of the Lord to the ends of the earth (Ex. 9:16; Deut. 28:9-10; Josh. 4:23-24; 1 Sam. 17:46; 1 Kings 8:42-43).
My friend, we can always depend on our God to defend us! Trust Him today!