by Pastor Mark Hudson
This psalm is another lament written by David. The historical background alluded to in the header is 1 Samuel 19:11. You can read that entire chapter for the context. Psalm 59 shares many of the same themes as previous chapters in this stretch of psalms. Two particular emphases in this psalm stand out to me. One is in verses 3b–4. King Saul’s coming to capture and kill David was not due to some sin or fault of David’s. David is innocent in all that he has done. He hasn’t tried to kill Saul or overthrow him, nor would he even speak a word against Saul, even though Saul was a wicked man and his downfall had already been promised by God. Sometimes God sends trials to chastise us and draw us back to himself after wandering away in sin for a while, but this is not one of those instances. Sometimes trials just happen for seemingly no reason
But even when we can’t see the reason for our trials, we must fight to remember that God still loves us. The second emphasis of this psalm is God’s steadfast love (vv. 10, 16, 17). Just because life is hard doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. In fact, it is because God loves us that he tests us with trials. He does so in order that we would become more and more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, which is the most loving thing our Father could ever do for us. And because God loves us, we can also be assured that he will meet us when we need him most (v. 10). He does not leave you to fight your own battles. In his steadfast love, he promises to be our fortress, strength, and refuge, and to help us endure (vv. 16–17). Praise God for the promise of his everlasting, unending, steadfast love!
In our discipleship groups that have met the last few weeks, we’ve been learning and practicing how to pray using God’s own words in Scripture. Here is an example of how you could pray Psalm 59 using the A-C-T-S model (Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication). I encourage you to take this prayer and tweak/customize/personalize it for yourself today.
- Adoration: O Lord, my God, you are a refuge and a fortress for your people (v. 16). You are my strength and shield (vv. 11, 17). Your power is so great, you laugh at even the strongest of evil people (v. 8). Although your and my enemies plot, lie, slander, curse, and consume (vv. 3, 5, 7, 12, 13), nothing can harm your people when they go to you for protection. I praise you, O God, that you are an unfailing rock. I praise you for giving strength to your people.
- Confession: I confess to you, O God, the many ways I replace you with idols in my life that I go to for refuge. I have trusted my bank account for security, I have made politicians my fortress, and I am guilty of the very pride that should bring about your wrath (v. 12). I often take matters into my own hands rather than waiting and watching for you (v. 9). My own words have not been pure. I mock and curse and lie. The words that come out of my mouth have not been “only such as is good for building up” or “giving grace to those who hear” (Eph. 5:29). I have also sinned by ____________. Be gracious to me, O God, despite my sin.
- Thanksgiving: And thank you for your steadfast love. Although I’ve sinned against you, your steadfast love has not left me. You have not destroyed me in my sin as you ought to have done (vv. 11–13), but you have been patient with me.
- Supplication: Now, O Lord, deliver me from ____________. I am wounded, bogged down, and in pain. This struggle just won’t go away (vv. 6, 14–15). Bring this enemy down for me, not for my sake but for your own name’s glory (v. 13). Awake and rouse yourself (vv. 4–5)! Be a refuge for me. Protect me; give me shelter; sustain me. May all of my brothers and sisters at Tyrone submit to your rule (v. 13), even when hard things happen. Help me to be an encouragement to them when their own enemies attack. Give us all greater holiness and purity and humility as we grow in learning to put our trust in you. In all that we do, may we seek to bring your reign and rule to the farthest ends of the earth (v. 13).