The Refuge That’s Merciful

David is hiding from Saul – from “storms of destruction”: 

  Psalm 57 1  Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, 

 for in you my soul takes refuge; 

 in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, 

 till the storms of destruction pass by. 

2  I cry out to God Most High, 

 to God who fulfills his purpose for me. 

3  He will send from heaven and save me; 

 he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah 

 God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness! 

4  My soul is in the midst of lions; 

 I lie down amid fiery beasts— 

 the children of man, 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! 

While government is not mentioned here, there are clear lessons for us, in times of “storms”:

  • First, as much as government might seek to take a god-like role in times of “storms”, for good or ill, we must learn to “pray past” government, to God. Because only God will be a truly merciful refuge. Nations generally deserve the governments they get. But God’s life-giving and sanity-inducing mercies, we will never deserve. 
  • Thus David fashions a psalm, that sounds very much like the prayer his Offspring would later teach: that God’s will would be done (v. 2), His kingdom to be sent (v. 3), and His name to be hallowed (v. 5). 
  • This is a hard prayer to pray. We want so much for the storm to be lifted, more than we want to endure through it, more than we want to trust Him to see us to the end. Yet it’s in taking GOD as refuge – independent of the timing of the lifting of the storm – that we find mercies – and freedom. 
  • The word “Selah”, in the margin of the Psalms, is debated by scholars, as to its purposes. It may be purely metrical, or musical. But it seems frequently enough to say, “Hey, this is a good place to stop and pause and just think about what we just sang.” In this section, the Selah falls on words of faith – the Psalmist pauses and looks forward, to that which he cannot see, which is the essence of faith (Heb. 11:1). God will send from heaven; he will save me. He IS steadfast in His love; He WILL be faithful. 

The Selah points us to how we learn to pray such a difficult prayer – by faith, in God’s love being steadfast.