Psalm 57: A Prayer of Distress
Our need for God's presence and care in our lives is a daily reality. However, when life is good we may be unaware of our need. As C. S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed, sometimes "life is so good," we may be "tempted to forget our need of him." But there are times in our lives when we are acutely aware of our need of God. In times of distress, when we are threatened with loss or harm or even with death, we remember our need for God and we turn to him with great urgency. Some people feel that they cannot bring their troubles to God. I have often heard people say, "I can't turn to God when I am in distress if I haven't been doing this all along." And I have heard other people say, "I can't bother God with this. There are many people hurting more than I am." But God invites us to turn to him when we are in distress. Repeatedly in the Scriptures God says to us, "Call on me in the day of trouble and I will answer you." This is exactly what this psalm helps us to do.
Warming Up to God
What mental pictures does the word distress create for you?
Discovering the Word
- The title and the introduction to this psalm suggest that this psalm was written by David when he fled into a cave, hiding from King Saul, who wanted to kill him. What image does David use in verse 1 to describe his experience of God as a safe shelter?
- What metaphors does David use in verse 4 to describe the danger he found himself in?
- In his time of distress David cried out to God (v. 2). What does it mean to "cry out" to God?
- How did God intervene for David in his time of distress (vv. 3, 6)?
- David responds to God's care in verse 7 by saying that his heart is steadfast. What is the significance of this response?
Applying the Word
- Think of a time when you were in distress. What was your experience of God like during that time?
- How might this psalm encourage you in times of distress?
Responding in Prayer
David responds to God's care with praise in verses 9-11. Offer your praises to God for his work in your life.