Psalms 56

Psalm 56

In God I Trust

To the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

56   Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
    all day long an attacker oppresses me;
  my enemies trample on me all day long,
    for many attack me proudly.
  When I am afraid,
    I put my trust in you.
  In God, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can flesh do to me?
  All day long they injure my cause;
    all their thoughts are against me for evil.
  They stir up strife, they lurk;
    they watch my steps,
    as they have waited for my life.
  For their crime will they escape?
    In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
  You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?
  Then my enemies will turn back
    in the day when I call.
    This I know, that God is for me.
  In God, whose word I praise,
    in the LORD, whose word I praise,
  in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
    What can man do to me?
  I must perform my vows to you, O God;
    I will render thank offerings to you.
  For you have delivered my soul from death,
    yes, my feet from falling,
  that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.


Psalm 56 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

In his book “Happiness,” Randy Alcorn writes, “I think it’s fair to say that many Christians don’t believe God is happy. If we did believe it, wouldn’t we be happier?”

“Sometimes we read Scripture about rejoicing or trusting and think, “Easy to say, but you’re not facing what I am.” But few people have faced conditions as dire as Habakkuk, with the impending destruction of his nation, family and friends, and way of life. His statement “I will be happy because of the God who delivers me” demonstrates that delighting in God isn’t dependent on favorable circumstances. Happiness in God involves an act of will toward the God who’s there, and who loves us, even in hunger, war and prison cells.”

Randy Alcorn

On this same topic, A.W. Tozer writes…

“The people of God ought to be the happiest people in all the wide world! People should be coming to us constantly and asking the source of our joy and delight.”

A.W. Tozer

Similar to Habakkuk, David faced some horrific circumstances. He was afraid, confused, hurt, angered, and oppressed. He called out to God asking, “How much longer!?!” He lived on the edge of faith, where his perseverance and grit was tested at every turn. Most notably, his joy and happiness were always present.

In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise,  11  in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?  12  I am obligated by vows to You, God; I will make my thank offerings to You.  13  For You delivered me from death, even my feet from stumbling, to walk before God in the light of life.

Psalms 56:10-13 HCSB

I will make my thank offerings to you is a way of saying, “Despite my struggles, there is much to be thankful for.” He goes on to list those very things. He has been delivered from death and his feet have not stumbled but have walked before God in the light of life. Wow. What perspective, right? Physically, David saw the hand of God move and rescue him in countless situations.

It was a foreshadowing to the spiritual rescuing that Jesus would bring to His children at the cross. We can make our thank offering to God today because He has delivered us from death. Thousands of years later, we can pray the same prayer that David wrote because of God’s unchanging love for His children.

Randy Alcorn relates another story in his book “Happiness” that beautifully illustrates the attitude of this psalm…

“Matthew Henry, the Puritan preacher and Bible commentator, made this statement after a thief stole his money: ‘Let me be thankful first because I was never robbed before; second, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.’”

Randy Alcorn

What would it look like for you to express gratitude for this life you have been given? Consider how much you murmur and complain about the circumstances of your life when compared to how often you give God praise for the blessings. This psalm was so timely for me as I’ve shifted my prayers in the morning to begin with thankfulness. Before I get into any of my requests, I simply write, “Give God Thanks” and list my bullet points for that day. It has been transformational for my perspective on joy and all that God is doing among us.

If the joy of the Lord is our strength, then we must acknowledge that we are utterly weak when we suppress joy with ungrateful whining and complaining. Set your mind on Christ and let what He has done set your day today!

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