For the worship leader. A prayer[a] of David to the tune “Silent Dove in the Distance,”[b] when the Philistine oppressors seized him in Gath.
Psalm 56 brings to mind the time when David fled from Saul and sought help from the Philistines, his former enemies (1 Samuel 21:10–15). In his time of panic and fear, David found courage in trusting God to do what could not be done by human power and ingenuity alone.
1 Show mercy to me, O God, because people are crushing me— grinding me down like dirt underfoot—all day long. No matter what I do, I can’t get myself out from under them. 2 My enemies are crushing me, yes all day long, O Highest of High, for many come proud and raise their hands against me. 3 When struck by fear, I let go, depending securely upon You alone. 4 In God—whose word I praise— in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me? 5 All day long they warp my words; all their thoughts against me are mangled by evil. 6 They conspire, then lurk about. They eye my every move, Waiting to steal my very life. 7 Because they are wicked through and through, drag them out. In Your just anger, O God, cast them down!
8 You have taken note of my journey through life, caught each of my tears in Your bottle. But God, are they not also blots on Your book? 9 Then my enemies shall turn back and scatter on the day I call out to You. This I know for certain: God is on my side. 10 In God whose word I praise and in the Eternal whose word I praise— 11 In God I have placed my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me?
12 I am bound by Your promise, O God. My life is my offering of thanksgiving to You, 13 For You have saved my soul from the darkness of death, steadied my feet from stumbling So I might continue to walk before God, embraced in the light of the living.
For the worship leader. A prayer[a] of David to the tune “Do Not Destroy,”[b] when he hid from Saul in a cave.
This individual lament refers back to those perilous times when David fled from Saul and hid in caves (1 Samuel 22; 24). David found real security not in the hidden recesses of the caves but in the shadow of God’s wings.
1 Mercy. May Your mercy come to me, O God, for my soul is safe within You, the guardian of my life. I will seek protection in the shade of Your wings until the destruction has passed. 2 I cry out to God, the Most High, to God who always does what is good for me. 3 Out of heaven my rescue comes. He dispatches His mercy and truth And goes after whoever tries to run over me.
4 I am surrounded by lions; I lie in a den of ravenous beasts. Those around me have spears and arrows for teeth, a sharpened blade for a tongue.
5 O God, be lifted up above the heavens; may Your glory cover the earth.
6 Yet my foes cast a net to catch my feet and bring me to my knees. I am weary from all of this. They dug a pit to snare me but fell into their own trap.
7 My heart is ready, O God; my heart is ready, And I will sing! Yes, I will sing praise! 8 Wake up, my glory! Wake up, harp and lyre; I will stir the sleepy dawn with praise! 9 I will offer You my thanks, O Lord, before the nations of the world; I will sing of Your greatness no matter where I am. 10 For Your amazing mercy ascends far into the heavens; Your truth rises above the clouds. 11 O God, be lifted up above the heavens; may Your glory cover the earth.
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