David wrote Psalm 59 as a prayer to God when King Saul had an ugly meltdown of envy and fear and hunted David down. We find this story in 1 Samuel 18 and 19. As always, he cries out God assured of His unfailing love. Let’s dig in…
For the choir director: A psalm (miktam) of David, regarding the time Saul sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him. To be sung to the tune “Do Not Destroy!”
Rescue me from my enemies, O God.
Protect me from those who have come to destroy me.
2 Rescue me from these criminals;
save me from these murderers.
3 They have set an ambush for me.
Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord,
though I have not sinned or offended them.
4 I have done nothing wrong,
yet they prepare to attack me.
Wake up! See what is happening and help me!
5 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel,
wake up and punish those hostile nations.
Show no mercy to wicked traitors. Interlude (Selah — pause and reflect)
6 They come out at night,
snarling like vicious dogs
as they prowl the streets.
7 Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths;
their words cut like swords.
“After all, who can hear us?” they sneer.
8 But Lord, you laugh at them.
You scoff at all the hostile nations.
9 You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me,
for you, O God, are my fortress.
10 In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me.
He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies.
11 Don’t kill them, for my people soon forget such lessons;
stagger them with your power, and bring them to their knees,
O Lord our shield.
12 Because of the sinful things they say,
because of the evil that is on their lips,
let them be captured by their pride,
their curses, and their lies.
13 Destroy them in your anger!
Wipe them out completely!
Then the whole world will know
that God reigns in Israel. Interlude (Selah — pause and reflect)
14 My enemies come out at night,
snarling like vicious dogs
as they prowl the streets.
15 They scavenge for food
but go to sleep unsatisfied.
16 But as for me, I will sing about your power.Psalm 59 NLT
Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge,
a place of safety when I am in distress.
17 O my Strength, to you I sing praises,
for you, O God, are my refuge,
the God who shows me unfailing love.
What’s Going On?
Persecution. Christians in America have not yet experienced the persecution of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. As I read this psalm, I imagined a persecuted Christian pastor in some African or Asian country being hunted by Muslim extremists only because of his faith. Like David, the Christian has done nothing wrong but practice a religion that Muslims oppose. However, because of his faith, he has strength, endurance and the hope of God’s unfailing love and salvation. Likewise, he knows that if he is captured, he will still be loved, still be able to sing and praise God. Furthermore, if he dies, he knows that he’ll be in Jesus’ loving arms immediately.
The folks at Spoken Gospel explain…
Even though David has committed no crime, he is hunted like a criminal (Psalm 59:3-4). His enemies besiege him with insults. Their words brandish threats against him and spew curses against God, thinking God can’t hear their slander (Psalm 59:6-7). But David knows God hears their threats and laughs at them (Psalm 59:8).
In the past, God has defeated entire nations to rescue his people. So he pleads that God will do it again. David’s earnest prayers in the dark of night are then answered by God with deliverance in the morning. God elevates David to Saul’s throne and sends his enemies away unsatisfied. God’s love for David is an impenetrable fortress against Saul and his dogs. God’s love is a higher and stronger fortress than any enemy. No matter what prowlers rise up against David, he has been raised higher than his enemies because God himself has been his protection (Psalm 59:9, 16).
Caught up in the fortress of God’s presence, David sings through the night drowning out the unsatisfied whimpering of the dogs. David sings of God’s strength that rescued him, God’s love that remembered him, and God himself as his high fortress (Psalm 59:16-17). This is how God rescues all his people. He turns his enemies’ blood-lust into unsatisfied howling. He turns his people’s cries of desperation in the night into songs of praise and deliverance in the morning.
Where is the Gospel?
Darkness and danger can’t consume those who belong to God. God always answers our cries for help in the night with deliverance in the morning.
Like David, many attempts were made on Jesus’ life. Though he was innocent of wrong, men hunted him down as he prayed for deliverance in the darkness of Gethsemane. Led by conspiring Judas, these enemies besieged Jesus with their blood-lust and slander (Matthew 26:47, 56). He was arrested, accused, beaten, and nailed to a cross (Luke 23:13-14). As he hung above the baying of the malicious crowd, they claimed God did not and could not save him (Matthew 27:40-43). But the darkness that surrounded Jesus in death wasn’t final. It was like the darkness before the morning.
Jesus was lifted up on the cross so he could be raised up from his grave (John 12:32). He was delivered to weakness in order to become a strong deliverer, the high fortress, and strength of God for his people (Colossians 1:22). His willingness to die proves God’s love. His resurrection proves God’s strength. God made Jesus King, and he protects all who run to him for refuge. In Jesus, we enjoy the impenetrable fortress of God’s presence. We are surrounded by him, and no enemy — not even death — can reach us.
Jesus will also punish the bloodthirsty whose pride keeps their lips busy with sin. He laughs at the prowling nations (Psalm 2:4, 37:13; Revelation 19:15). His strength rescues us, his love remembers us, and he is our high fortress. Enemies may snarl at night, but they whine unsatisfied in the morning when the children of God sing of their deliverance in Jesus.Spoken Gospel
Jesus told us…
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 NLT
Just like Paul and Silas in Acts 16, we can trust God to bring good things out of a bad situation.
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.Romans 8:26-28 NLT
Where do you stand in God’s unfailing love?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…