Written by: Tim Wood
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.
1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. 2 I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me. 3 He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me— God sends forth his love and his faithfulness. 4 I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. 6 They spread a net for my feet—I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path—but they have fallen into it themselves.7 My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.8 Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. 9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. 10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
David is running for his life again. The superscription tells us he is running from Saul and hiding in a cave. Caves were familiar territory for David. This cave was most likely the cave of Addulam (1 Samuel 22:1 ff). He also hid in a cave at En Gedi (1 Samuel 24). Someone wrote, “It’s better to be in a cave under God’s protection than in a palace outside the will of God.” I agree. David knew how to turn his negative physical experiences into positive spiritual experiences. David knew how to turn a cave into a chapel. This psalm shows us how David prays his way to praise.
First, David acknowledged that God was his ultimate refuge. In verse one David prays, “For in you I take refuge.” David knew that God was his protector, his security, his shelter in the time of storm. God would be David’s provider of strength and help and David acknowledged that truth.
Second, David claims the promise of God. In verse two he prays, “to God, who vindicates me.” The word for vindicate means to bring to an end. In the King James Version it’s translated “perform”. God will perform all things for me. In the New American Standard the translation is accomplishes. God will accomplish all things for me. David knows that God will bring his trial to an end for the glory of God. This reminds me of the great promise of God in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this, that He who began the good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Third, David expects God to give him victory. In verse three David know that God will send his love and faithfulness. Points two and three go hand in hand. Not only did David claim the promise of God, he expected the promise of God to happen. “My soul waits silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5 NKJV).
Fourth, David fixed his attention on God. In verse seven, “My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast.” Some translations read “fixed” rather than steadfast. A steadfast heart is intentionally fixed upon God and his goodness. A steadfast heart is fixed on things above and not on things of earth. A steadfast heart is fixed on the blessings that we have in heavenly places because of Jesus Christ. David attached himself to the power of God in his life and it made a difference in the cave.
Lastly, David erupts in praise to God. “Awake my soul”, he prays in verse eight. In verse nine he praises God for his great love and faithfulness. “Be exalted, O God above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (verse 11).
Whatever is going on in your life today, you can turn it into a chapel. God is your refuge. Claim and expect the promise of God. Intentionally fix your attention on God and praise him. Praising God unlocks all of heaven for you. God inhabits the praises of His people. Turn your cave into a chapel today!