A Psalm of Fear and Favor (Psalm #56)

Text: Psalm 56

The psalm is organized with three verses and a “chorus” followed by five verses and the “chorus” followed by two versus. The psalm is much like our hymn “Standing on the Promises.”

Here is another prayer that is sung by David. Most folks say this prayer is when David went to Gath in 1 Samuel 21:10, but I believe he prays this prayer before entering Gath in 1 Samuel 27:1. The first time David entered Gath in 1 Samuel 21 he was very fearful. Let’s read it in 1 Samuel 21:10-15.

Faith over fear (vss 1-5)

  • Prayer based on a promise (vss 1-2)
    • Right prayer is for mercy.
    • Contrast of man’s character and God’s character
  • Trust based on a truth (vs 3)
    • Trust is no fair weather trust or based on good conditions
    • The Lord told David that he is God’s choice to be king over Israel after Saul.  The Lord also told David that if Saul can catch David he will kill him.
    • This time David enters Gath he is running from Saul because the Lord told him in 1 Samuel 23 that Saul will kill him when he finds him. The thing David knows is that Saul is unwilling to fight the Philistines. David enters the lion’s den by entering the Philistine city of Gath and he’s going to leave it in the Lord’s hands.
    • Trust based on truth, not circumstances.  Can it be called trust if it only works when things are good?
    • What are the times you’re afraid?
      • Responsibility
      • Affliction
      • Nerves
      • Anxiety as to the future
      • With every fear there are some promises that address your fear.
    • The “chorus”
      • The words of God provide the foundational promises and truths.
      • Matthew 10:27-31 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Confidence from God’s character (vss 6-10)

  • Notice the contrast of men watching David’s steps to hurt him, but God watching David’s steps to consider them for his good.
    • Verse 6 speaks of man and verse 8 talks about God’s view toward David’s walk.
    • Verse 5 speaks of man and verse 9 talks about God’s view toward David’s words.
  • God bottles up David’s tears
    • God has a book that records David’s tears. The scriptures, particularly 1-2 Samuel, Psalms record David’s tears.
    • Verse 9, David is fully confident that God will answer his prayer based on His promises and His character.
  • Chorus in verses 10-11.

Power from God’s promise (vss 12-13)

  • God’s promise is on David’s life, and this promise gives david practical, daily, help.
  • Trust him in death, but can’t trust him in life? (vs 13)