Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me; all day long they press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride. When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life. On no account let them escape; in your anger, O God, bring down the nations. Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll are they not in your record? Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (NIV)
This psalm was written by David when the Philistines had seized him in Gath. This was the period in the life of David when he was running from Saul. David’s life has been given to us as an example of how we must face the issues that we encounter on our journey in this life and how to address these issues. In this example David is fleeing from Saul not because of wrong doing but because of Saul saw him as a threat to his kingdom. This threat was not caused by David’s decisions but by God’s decision that the Lord had made in I Samuel 15 and 16 when He rejected Saul and chose David. God made this decision but how David reacted to it affected others around him. This holds true for us today. If we make ourself available to God his plans for us can have an impact on our relationship to those around us. Just the simple belief that God is our creator and we are his creation will cause others around us to form an opinion about us. Saul rejected God’s decision to make David the next King and placed himself against God and chose to kill David. David accepted it, but waited for God to intervene and make him king. So as you read this psalm study David’s reactions to Saul’s attack on him. Waiting is not easy however it does strenghten on faith in the Lord.
The first thing David does is to make an appeal to God’s mercy. He places himself before the judge of the universe as one that is willing to accept his verdict because David knows that God alone has absolute power. He states his case before God: (1. men hotly pursue me 2. they attach me 3. They slander me) because of their pride. They have twisted David’s words, they are plotting against him, they lurk about him and watch his steps.
After this appeal for mercy David states to God “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?” David praises God’s word and trust in his judgment and at the same time David does not fear man. Why? Because Samuel had anointed him king of Israel and God had not changed this. Sometimes we seem to forget God’s promises that he has made. We seem to forget that he will never leave us or forsake us. We seem to forget my daughter Alex’s favorite verse Romans 8:28 “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.” So remember and trust in God’s promises in times of trouble. The second thing to remember is not to fear man.
Next we see the results of David’s prayer “Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me” I love I John 5:14-15 where one of the five evidences of Christ in you is this: “And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us: and if we know that he hears us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked.” Yes God does answer our prayers, he protects us along the way and the true believer can also repeat what David states in verse thirteen of this psalm. However, we must also understand from these verses that answer prayer is in accordance to His will. As we grow in Christ we must realized to that God wants to transform the intermost part of us. Events happen everyday in our life that will either bring us closer or farther from the transformation that God wants to happen in our life. If we stay in the Word and walk in His way then these events will bring us closer to the transformation that God desires for us and we will see answer prayer in our life.
As we read this psalm we can also compare it to the life that Christ lived during his ministry on the earth. For as David the anointed king to take Saul’s place was pursued and hunted so was Christ the promise Messiah from God pursued and hunted. During Saul’s reign David was the rejected King just as Christ was during his ministry on this earth was the rejected Messiah. Just as David became King after Saul’s death, so will Christ become King of Kings when he returns to the earth. Are you looking forward to that Day?