I will sing praises to You among the nations,
For your steadfast love is great,
Is great to the heavens,
And Your faithfulness, Your faithfulness, to the clouds!
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
Let Your glory be over all the earth!
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
Let Your glory be over all the earth!”
We would probably refer to this praise song as “an oldie.” The funny thing is until many of us read Psalm 57 this week; we may not have grasped just how much of “an oldie” it is! It is not just a song that was written in 1977 – the Holy Spirit through His servant David gave it to us. What may tend to astound us a little is the music studio in which it was written.
There he sat in a dark cave, wondering what possibly could be next. What had it been – 4 or 5 years he had been on the run? A fugitive from justice – at least the royal excuse for justice at the present moment. He could hear his own breathing – as well as the breathing of a small band of men who were with him in the place where light would not betray their presence.
What would today bring? Another close call with death – another sprint up the side of a mountain with our pursuers barely out of sight? It was a lonely existence and often a frustrating one. But before his thoughts could turn to another thing there was a noise at the entrance of their hideout. Silence – absolute silence had to be observed. Did someone see them come in? Did they not cover their tracks well enough? Even worse – were these their final moments before a flood of battle-hardened warriors would begin what would be literally the fight of his life?
No it was only one person – wait – it was one very recognizable person from his attire. The king was entering the cave – and remarkably – he was alone. It was soon evident that he was there to relieve himself. A lone soldier silently came to his side and whispered in his ear. “David – this is it – you can end all this now. God has led your enemy right to you where you can strike him down.”
The stealthy voice was hushed as David took only a moment (but it felt like a year) to know what he should do.
“This is God’s anointed!” He thought, “How can I stretch out my hand and kill him without guilt? He moved as if a small wisp of wind and cut just the corner of Saul’s garment off of the robe. Soon Saul was finished and began to depart from the cave.
David waited a few minutes and then followed him. His men crept behind him to see what would happen. David called out to Saul and apologized.
APOLOGIZED! What was he doing, his men thought!
He isn’t going to kill him?
He’s apologizing – and he’s giving away our position!
We’re all dead men now!
But soon after they heard Saul weep and apologize to him!
What an amazing thing to see and hear.
What a strange day it was.
That night they sat around the fire and David pulled out his lyre. They loved when he did this – for few if any could write and sing like their captain. What prayer would he weave with his music and words tonight? This was a new one – and from what he said – it about today’s events in the cave.
“Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me,
For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by.”
Sounds right – sounds like what we’ve been going through – that is for sure! But David continued with more.
I will cry to God Most High,
To God who accomplishes all things for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches him who tramples upon me.
Our captain is so good at telling the story! We were praying too! It is truly amazing how he turns to God in every situation. It is amazing that he looks to Jehovah to deliver him – and – us! Reproach? Yeah – Jehovah needs to do a little reproaching and rebuking! We are being trampled. The thoughts of what he just sang ran wild in their heads as he went through a little break from singing and the music played by itself.
A flourish of music seemed to be leading to some kind of revelation.
“God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth.”
Send love and truth? What we need to be asking for is a few more soldiers – no – a lot more soldiers! Maybe even a batch of angels!
“My soul is among lions;
I must lie among those who breathe forth fire,
Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows
And their tongue a sharp sword.”
As I turned and elbowed a buddy next to me – we both had that look in our eyes. Yeah – David – tell it like it is!
Lions – yep – they’re like lions – fire breathing lions – with teeth like spears and arrows! Absolutely David – their tongue is like a sword – a very sharp one! We braced ourselves longing for a little more judgment talk! We wondered how God was going to deal with our persecutors? This was going to be good!
“Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.’
Looked at my buddy and shrugged. Where did THAT come from? He’s started praising God.
We were kind of used to this. It was like one moment he is concerned – maybe even a little mad. Then – boom – it’s like God does something to his heart and his tone changes.
You know - It’s like he sees something we don’t. Almost like God was in the midst of all this mess. Kind of like – no matter what God is still in control of it all? Whatever the case – it may be disturbing – but it sure is amazing and enlightening!
They have prepared a net for my steps;
My soul is bowed down;
They dug a pit before me;
They themselves have fallen into the midst of it.
YESSIR David! It was like they were hunting us with a net and a pit!
Right again! Our souls were bowed down too! And its about time for someone to knock them into their own pit.
Then – there is was again – that flourish in the music that meant a conclusion – or maybe some kind of insight. Oh how we loved how he did this!
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
Awake, my glory! Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens
And Your truth to the clouds.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
There he goes again – praising and worshipping God. Was hoping for fire and judgment – but he turns to God and wants to awaken the morning.
Boy - how he views things so very differently than us! Oh – and there it is again – that same chorus.
Be exalted above the heavens – Let Your glory be above all the earth.
Not exactly what I was expecting after that harrowing experience! Then it was done – the song was over. Like all of his songs – this one left us thinking – wondering – considering things.
“You know – there is something about these songs,” I thought. Strange – but the more I hear them – the more I trust in God. The more any situation becomes Jehovah’s situation. The more I see God ultimately in control – no matter how bad or how good it gets.
Then there is also that steady drum beat of everything being for God’s glory.
I looked over at my buddy one last time before I lay down to sleep. “Eh – pretty good song,” I said. “And weird as it may seem – it makes me want to trust God right along with him.”
As I turned my head and lay on the ground I thought of the words of the song I just heard – and drifted off into a restful night’s sleep. My last conscious thoughts were – “With a God like that – doesn’t matter what your situation is – a man can sleep peacefully at night.”