Summary: What should we do in troubled times? 1. Ask for God’s assistance (vs. 1,9). 2. Talk about your trust in God (vs. 3, 4, 11). 3. Be educated about our enemies (vs. 1-2; 5-7). 4. Remember that God remembers us (vs. 8). 5. Pour out your praise to the Lord (vs. 4; 10-13).

God's Directions for Distressing Times

Psalm 56:1-13

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - March 1, 2015

(Revised September 21, 2019)


*In the KJV, the introduction to Psalm 56 says: "To the chief Musician upon Jonath-elem-rechokim, Michtam of David, when the Philistines took him in Gath."

*The first part of that Hebrew phrase is "Jonah," like the Prophet Jonah's name. I never knew this before, but Jonah's name means "dove". And the whole phrase "Jonath-elem-rechokim" means "The Silent Dove in Distant Lands."

*Church: That may be how David felt when he wrote this Psalm, because he was trapped in enemy territory. It was one of the most distressing times in David's life, so the introduction in the NKJ says: "To the Chief Musician. Set to "The Silent Dove in Distant Lands." a Michtam of David When the Philistines Captured Him in Gath."

*David was trapped by the Philistines when he wrote this Michtam Psalm. And this word "michtam" means something "engraved" or "permanent". You see, God wants us to know that the words David wrote 3,000 years ago can still help us today. And we need this help, because all of us have to go through times of maximum stress in life. (1)

*With this background in mind, let's all stand as we read Psalm 56.


*You may have seen the news about PFC Jerome Swaggart getting killed while serving in our Army over in Kenya. His funeral is in West Monroe this afternoon at 3. The young man's mother used to work in one of Mary's schools, and Thursday night Mary got this text from one of the teachers up there:

*"Hey Mary. Didn't know if you had heard about Shalia Swaggart's son. He was in the service and died in Kenya. His body is being returned tomorrow. . ."

*Mary asked if it was combat related, and her friend replied: "He was on his post at night, and went to investigate some smoke (at the end of an airstrip). They later found out cause of death was a snake bite. The 5 most dangerous snakes are located there. They said one snake was very aggressive and death would be almost immediate. His mother, Shalia got word on her birthday, February 19, at 9 p.m. Just now getting body back."

*Mary said, "This is so sad. Did he have a family?" And her friend said, "Just parents and 3 older sisters and their families. He wasn't married and didn't have kids. I think he was 26." (2)

*We have the Swaggart family on our prayer list. May the Lord help them through their terrible loss. There are also people in our church family going through difficult days, but God is faithful, and He will surely help us. Today's Scripture can help, because it gives us some good directions for distressing times.


*That’s what David did in 1, when he cried out to the Lord and said: "Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up; Fighting all day he oppresses me." Just like David, we should ask for God’s assistance.


*David surely did. Again, this was one of the most distressing times in his life. David was so desperate that he pretended to be insane before the Philistine King Abimelech.

*Ironically, the trouble started after one of David's greatest victories: The day that he killed the giant Goliath. That incredible warrior was over ten feet tall, and he had been terrorizing the whole Jewish army.

*David's victory over Goliath made him a hero to his nation, but it also made David's king insanely jealous. King Saul was so jealous that he tried to kill David at least twice with a spear. Then Saul began to hunt for David all over the country. Finally, in desperation, David made a terrible decision: He would go where Saul would never reach him. He would go to Goliath's hometown and seek asylum from the Philistine king.

*Of course, as soon as that king's servants realized who David was, they grabbed him and took him to their king. David was out of the frying pan and into the fire, so 1 Samuel tells us that David:

13. . . changed his behavior before them, feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard.

14. Then Achish said to his servants, "Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me?

15. Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?''

1. David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. . . (1 Samuel 21:13-22:1).

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