Last night I went outside an enjoyed the most incredible sunset as the sky turned all of the wonderful orange colors setting around Mt. Hood. As I did this I reflected not only on the day and some of the stress I had seen but also on the joy that I was experiencing being where God has me and my family and the people that He has placed us with.
I wondered at the difference that a change in perspective makes, and most specifically when the perspective is reminding myself that I am always under the shelter of God’s wings. As I continued to think and enjoy the sunset, I found myself racing inside the house to grab a tablet to jot down some notes. What I wrote was about King David who seemed to be really open in his psalms about the trying situations in his life. As he would begin to write he would share about the situation, but then we find himself changing his focus Godward, and as his focus changed and he reflected on who God is and how God was faithful to him, we then find him turning to words of praise and even being able to find real rest knowing that not a single thing has changed in regard to whatever it was that brought him to that moment in the first place. The situation was still there, but David realized also that God was more powerfully there, and it was in Him that he would trust and find rest.
In 1 Samuel 22 and 24 David found himself hiding in caves from King Saul who had his full force out looking for David and seeking to put him to death. In fact, in 1 Samuel 24:1-7 King Saul himself had led three-thousand men in pursuit of David, and oddly enough we read that King Saul during that pursuit went into a cave to relieve himself (yes, that’s what he did). David was hiding in that cave, recognized King Saul, briefly thought about killing him, and then realized that he had no authority to life his hand against the king even though he was already anointed as the next king. So, he withdrew, and Saul left unaware that anything had happened.
There are two psalms that I think of that are specifically mentioned as being written while David was in the cave. One of them is Psalm 57. After going back into the house I sat down and checked my notes to find that it was this situation and this psalm that I had the privilege to preach about on September 16, 2001 just five days after the horrific terrorist attack on our country (9/11).
Today we once again find ourselves under an attack, but this time from an unseen enemy in the form of a virus and uncertainty about how it will impact us is huge. The threat extends beyond our health to that of our finances and even future. But our God who was present with David in those caves and on 9/11 is still the same and still just as in control.
Won’t you take a few minutes and read this psalm? Maybe even you can copy it somewhere to reflect on should you get a little on edge or are feeling pressed. And, possibly you might even share it with someone else as we continue to encourage one another.
Psalm 57. TO THE CHOIRMASTER: ACCORDING TO DO NOT DESTROY. A MIKTAM OF DAVID, WHEN HE FLED FROM SAUL, IN THE CAVE. (1) Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. (2) I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. (3) He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! (4) My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts— the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. (5) Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! (6) They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah (7) My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! (8) Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! (9) I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. (10) For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. (11) Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Psalm 57, ESV)