Summary: When we recognize God's greatness, our response will be to praise Him even in the face of the adversities of life.
It is easy to appreciate God's greatness during the good times. It is easy to praise God for His greatness when you are prosperous, when you have enough money to buy the things you want. It is easy to appreciate God's greatness when your health is good, when there seems to be no limit to the things you can do. It is easy to praise God for his greatness when all your relationships are running smoothly, when there is no conflict between you and your family and your co-workers and your friends. How easy it is to praise God for His greatness during the good times.
But do you always recognize God's greatness? Do you recognize God's greatness even when facing life's uncertainties? Can you still praise God during financial difficulties? Can you still praise God when your health is failing? Do you recognize God's greatness in both the good and the bad times?
Psalm 57 is David's response to a life-threatening situation. In this psalm God wants to show us how he expects us to respond to him when we face difficult times.
Notice that the title of the psalm gives us the circumstances under which the psalm was written. In order to understand why David was hiding from Saul in a cave, we need to understand the relationship between David and Saul as it is described in the First Book of Samuel.
Saul was the king of Israel, but because he disobeyed God, he was rejected by God as the king. Please understand that Saul still held the position of King of Israel, however he did not have God's blessing, and it was simply a matter of time before Saul would be removed from the throne. It was at this time that David originally found favor with Saul because of his ability to play the harp which relieved Saul of the evil spirits God sent to torment him. Eventually, God chose David to become the future king of Israel, and according to the First Book of Samuel: "...the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power". Later, David became an armor-bearer in Saul's army and perhaps he is best known for his battle with Goliath of Gath, the Philistine giant who stood over nine feet tall, and whom David was able to kill with a stone and a sling, the simple weapons of a shepherd.
David continued to experience success as a warrior, and, in fact, in everything he did David had great success because God was with him. As David's success as a warrior continued, he was promoted to a high rank in Saul's army. But David eventually lost favor with Saul. Saul became jealous of David's success as a warrior when the women in the towns of Israel sang about how "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." Psalm 57 was written while David hid from Saul who sought to kill him because he knew David would replace him as the king of Israel.
We find David's initial response to Saul's pursuit in verse 1. As we read, notice where David keeps his immediate focus even though his life is in danger.
David's immediate focus, surprisingly, was not on his enemies. David knew his enemies were dangerous and that they sought to destroy him. Look at verse 4. Nevertheless, David kept his immediate focus off of his enemies. Instead, David responded to impending danger by confidently seeking God's
protection from his enemies.
How was David able to keep his initial focus on God? Picture the situation: David is in a dark cave, the ceiling of which is probably so low that he can't even stand up. He's hungry and thirsty. He hasn't slept for days. Perhaps from the opening of the cave he can look out and see dust coming up over the horizon from Saul's army. Shouldn't David have been more concerned about defending himself? Shouldn't David have been more concerned about coming up with some kind of a strategy? How could he be coming up with a psalm at a time like this? Where is your immediate focus when you face life's uncertainties? What is your first response when you see bad times coming up over the horizon?
The reason why David was able to keep his focus on God rather than on his danger may be found in v. 2.
Why does David address God as "the God Most High?" Why doesn't he address God as "God?" Because David wants to make an important point. He wants to impress upon us just how much authority God had over his life. You see, the God David worshiped wasn't a God who had authority over his life only when everything was going well. His God wasn't a god that was somehow limited in authority, a god who had dominion over some aspects of David's life, but when it came to a pursuing army, forget it! God's not big enough to handle anything like that! No!