A. Psalm 56 is “a Michtam of David,” this means “a golden Psalm.” It contains precious instruction for the troubled soul.
B. It is written according to a tune, to be sung, called “the silent dove afar off,” possibly referring to David in a time of refuge, when he wished for the “wings [of] a dove” to escape his troubles (PSA 55:6).
C. It was written after the incident recorded in 1SA 21:10-15, where in his desperation, David fled to Gath, the city of Goliath. He was carrying the sword of Goliath (1SA 21:8-9), and thus was recognized and surrounded. He feigned madness to escape.
In this incident, we see why Psalm 56 is said to contain a “lesson of gold.” David foolishly enters the Philistine stronghold (home of Goliath), carrying the giant’s sword, and thinks he can escape detection. This shows the ability of fear to dull the mind. In reality, when we act on fear, it always leads us to make foolish choices and go in the wrong direction. The reason is that fear is subjective, while faith is objective. Subjectivity is defined as being self-centered, whereas objectivity is fact/reality-centered. In this case, the greatest fact is the character of God! He remains the same, no matter how foolish or flawed we may be.
A. His plea for mercy (PSA 56:1-2) is in the midst of grave peril. “Mercy” is chanan, “unmerited favor based on God’s love for His children.”
B. In great fear of soul, David makes a resolute decision to overcome his fear by trusting in the Lord. The word “trust” is batach, which implies “bold initiative in facing an enemy,” “to hope for deliverance.” Some sources use this word for “throwing an enemy to the ground.”
C. David states his spiritual rational for overcoming overwhelming fear, “… I will praise His word … In God I have put my trust; I will not fear.” It is the knowledge of, and assurance in God’s Word, that is the object of his faith. By this, he will drive fear from his soul.
1. This would involve the conviction of God’s sovereignty.
2. On this basis, we can build trust in the providence of God.
3. This providential care will follow the promises of God to His child. We cannot claim promises we do not know! There are an estimated 7,000 promises in the Bible to the believer.
D. In PSA 56:5-7, he describes his enemies as “twist[ing his] words” and watching his steps in order to take his life.
E. Then in PSA 56:8-11, he contrasts his danger with the watch-care of God:
1. God is conscious of every step and situation of our life.
2. He counts and records every tear as a precious treasure, and records our afflictions in His book of life.
3. He hears the prayers of His people and never disregards them.
4. David is convinced of God’s future deliverance. His faith will not be in vain.
F. Finally, David promises to keep his vows to God, knowing he will yet praise Him. He bases this on his past experiences with God’s faithfulness.
A. This Psalm is “more to be desired … than gold” (PSA 19:10) for its instruction in facing fear, which is always the ploy of Satan (HEB 2:14-15).
B. The only spiritual weapon effective against fear is faith. The causes of the fear are as different as the conditions of life. But the solution is always the same—active trust in the Living God.
C. Fear focuses on what might happen to me—this is subjective thinking. Faith focuses on the ultimate reality: God, who never changes. This is objective thinking—a faith rationale!
D. Reviewing past times, when things looked bleak in our lives and we experienced God’s deliverance, are powerful reminders of the faithfulness of God.