Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
2 I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me. 3 He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.
4 I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts— men 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 spread a net for my feet— I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path— but they have fallen into it themselves.
7 My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. 8 Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. 10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
It is thought that David was in hiding in a cave, fleeing for his life, from king Saul when he wrote this psalm. In the midst of this crisis David was able to look back on his life and recall times in the past when God had helped him through difficult and challenging circumstances. This encouraged him to be strong and believe that God would hear his cry for help and once again come to his aid. His recollection of God’s faithfulness towards him spurred him on to sing a song of praise to God.
It is so easy to forget all the blessings that God has showered upon us in the past, especially when we are going through difficult times, somehow our problems become all consuming. In his commentary on this psalm John Goldingay (former principle of St Johns college) writes, “Remembering the past is key to living in the present and having hope for the future. It does not make prayer unnecessary: it does make it possible.” He goes on to point out that this command to remember what God has done for us in the past is one of the most frequently repeated exhortations in the whole of the bible.
Recently I have found a number of Matt Redman’s songs to be so helpful because they remind us to go on praising God even though life is far from easy.
Lord forgive me for living my life
As if you were not present.
For trusting in my own strength
And not yours.
Teach me to trust you
Especially when the journey
Seems difficult and hard.
Give me peace
That cannot be disturbed
By the fiercest storm.
Give me the knowledge
That no matter how many problems
May strew the way ahead
You who have the power to still the storm
Can bring strength and stillness into my life. Amen