Psalm 56:12 I am obligated by vows to you, God; I will make my thank offerings to you.
Psalm 56:13 You see, you rescued me from death, my own feet from stumbling, to walk before God in the light of life.
The Christian feels the obligation to worship out of gratitude for the rescue. God accomplished our rescue from the penalty of death that we deserve. Our rescue sets our feet back on the right path, a path of walking before God. We are under this obligation not in order to be rescued, because neither our worship nor our walk can accomplish that. No, we are obligated to worship and walk in his light because he has rescued us by his grace.
Lord, thank you for the grace by which we stand, walk and worship.
Psalm 56:8 You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
Psalm 56:9 Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.
bottle and book
Do you ever feel like no one actually cares about the troubles you feel? Are you tired of being ignored? Sometimes I feel like that. When I walk into a crowded room, and no one even acknowledges my existence, it’s hard to shake something like that off.
This psalm talks about God having a bottle into which goes all the tears — a book that records them. God cares. He can take care of us, because he knows and cares about what we are experiencing.
Lord, I sometimes don’t feel it, but I know you’re there, and I know you care.
Psalm 56:5 They twist my words all day long; all their thoughts against me are evil.
Psalm 56:6 They stir up strife, they lurk; they watch my steps while they wait to cut my throat.
Psalm 56:7 Will they be delivered from their trouble? God, bring down the nations in wrath.
Now, David, that does not sound like a very Christian prayer. You are supposed to love your enemies.
But I have learned something about prayer by listening to my grandchildren, and some of my friends who do not seem to have a regulator for their mouths: honesty is refreshing. When my sky Father is listening in his confessional, he does not want me to censor my prayers. Belt them out and blurt them out. He wants my prayers to be brutally honest.
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
Psalm 56:4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mere meat do to me?
when I am, I will not be
David admits that he gets afraid, but turns to God and chooses to trust him to tame that fear. He promises not to be afraid. The enemy that threatens him is still there, but he now sees that enemy as a mere chunk of meat. There’s nothing to fear there. God is my protector. His word I praise, and in him I trust. It is more than a logo on a coin. It is my reality because I have made it so.
Psalm 56:1 Be gracious to me, God, because a man is trampling me; he fights and oppresses me all day long. Psalm 56:2 My adversaries trample me all day, because many arrogantly fight against me.
As I read scripture, I don’t always feel the way the author feels, but today I feel like David did. I feel like I am being stomped on. I just want to share that with you just in case there is anyone else out there who feels that way. God’s message of love and his listening ear is not for those who are riding high all the time, with no cares or concerns. He is there for us too.
Lord, help us. We are being stomped on. Come to our aid, and rescue us!
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on Yahveh, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:23 God, you will bring them down to the Pit of destruction; men of bloodshed and treachery will not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.
David’s burden was someone who wanted him dead. But his confidence was in God. God could reverse their plans and send those conspirators to the pit of destruction instead.
What is your burden today? God is big enough to reverse your circumstances, and make you victorious. But he does not need your help. Give up your plans for revenge and let God show himself faithful. Pray your way out of that mess.
Lord, we choose to pray our way out. We will trust in you.
Psalm 55:20 My friend acts violently against those at peace with him; he violates his covenant.
Psalm 55:21 His buttery words are smooth, but war is in his heart. His words are softer than oil, but they are drawn swords.
David describes his betraying “friend” as someone who had war in his heart, but pretended to be at peace. He spoke smooth words, softer than oil, but they were really drawn swords, intending David’s death.
I hope you never feel betrayal like that, but you might. It would do you well to follow David’s example and take the pain and sorrow you feel to God. He is the only one who can counter an attack with smooth swords.
Lord, give us the wisdom to respond to betrayal by coming to you for justice.
Psalm 55:15 Let death take them by surprise; let them go down to Sheol alive, because evil is in their homes and inside them.
Psalm 55:16 But I am calling to God, and Yahveh will save me.
Psalm 55:17 I complain and make uproar morning, noon, and night, and he hears my voice.
Psalm 55:18 Though many are against me, he will redeem me from my battle unharmed.
Psalm 55:19 God, the one enthroned from long ago, will hear and will humiliate them – Selah – because they do not change and do not fear God.
the complaint department
I marvel at the men and women at the “special services desk” who hear complaint after complaint about products they are returning. I would not want to have that job. I do not like complaints. They bother me. Nowadays, the squeaky wheel does not get the grease; it gets returned for a new wheel.
But David knows that God is going to be there 24/7. God is listening to his prayers as he complains and makes uproar. God is going to intervene.
Thank you Lord, for your ever-present help in time of need.
Psalm 55:12 Now it is not an enemy who is insulting me – otherwise I could bear it; it is not an adversary who rises up against me – otherwise I could hide from him.
Psalm 55:13 But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend!
Psalm 55:14 We used to have close fellowship; we walked with the crowd into the house of God.
hurt by a friend
You said it, David. There is nothing more disheartening than an insult coming from someone you thought was a friend. As I write this, I am still hurting inside from a remark made yesterday. I would rather the person slugged me!
Eventually, David’s hurt becomes anger, but he does not allow it to stop there. He turns to God and expresses expectation that God will sort out his issues, and encourages others to throw their burden on the Lord.
Lord, it hurts to be hurt by those we think are friends. Please make it right!