At the time this psalm was written, it was as if David’s face was printed on every wanted poster displayed across the Kingdom of Israel and Judah.
King Saul was jealous over David’s battle victories, jealous over the praise he received from other Israelites, and jealous that God was clearly with him. As the pieces begun to fall into place, it didn’t take a genius to realize that it would only be a matter of time before the throne would also be David’s, so Saul panicked and pulled out all the stops in hopes of keeping the crown. He took matters into his own hands, gave orders to his men to track David down, and he made sure they were out for blood. He wouldn’t be satisfied until David was dead and gone.
On the run, David was a fugitive from his hometown, but he also narrowly escaped death from the neighboring Philistine city. Hiding out in a cave and surrounded by other desperate men, this is where we read his song of praise: “In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles . . . Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!”
David was still on the run, and Saul was still in hot pursuit—yet praise to God was on David’s lips: “The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” He wasn’t naïve about his predicament, and he wasn’t downplaying his challenges; David acknowledges in this song that the righteous face many troubles. But even still, we see his confidence was sure: “But the Lord comes to the rescue each time . . . No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.”
You may feel like troubles are assailing on every side, and you just can’t catch a break. Work is tough, your home life is rocky, health problems aren’t getting any better, finances are tight, or you’re just generally feeling discouraged. Today, let God be your refuge. In your desperation, pray. And even in the midst of your own challenges, praise the Lord at all times.
As you do, may you also draw the same conclusion David did—that the Lord is indeed close to the brokenhearted and always rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
- 1. In this psalm, David is beckoning us to join him in praise—“Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together.” How will you praise God today? How will you tell of the Lord’s greatness to those in your world?
- 2. As we face down our fears and keep our eyes fixed on God, may this be our prayer: “Thank you, Lord, for hearing my prayers and answering me. You alone carry the power to free me from all my fears, and you alone can rescue me from my troubles. I’m taking refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed, and surely, I will taste and see that you are good in my life.”
A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.
1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.
12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!
21 Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
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