Psalm 59. What a Time for Singing!


Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 59. (MsgB)

A David Psalm, When Saul Set a Watch on David’s House in Order to Kill Him

(My enemies) howl like coyotes, ringing the city.
They scavenge for bones, and bite the hand that feeds them.

And me? I’m singing your prowess, shouting at cockcrow your largesse,
For You’ve been a safe place for me, a good place to hide.
Strong God, I’m watching You do it, I can always count on You—

God, my dependable Love.


I guess things can’t get much worse when the leader you once faithfully served decides to send a squad of hit men to surround your house, ordered to kill you the moment you step out of your front door to get your morning newspaper.

Sounds a lot like a scene from the movie, The Godfather.

One moment you’re an insider, sitting on the palace porch, sipping cappuccino with the Don, and now you’re a dog on the run, hoping someone hasn’t slipped a knockout pill into your iced tea.

And who said the Bible was boring?

I’m surprised Hollywood hasn’t picked up on this classic cat-and-mouse story of David and Saul and turned it into a mini-series!

And through it all, here’s David, the shepherd-boy, singing his way through his troubles. Rather than hatching an elaborate escape plan or storing up an arsenal of weapons to protect himself from the bad guys, here David is in Psalm 59, strumming on his harp, singing about his loving God who is faithful to the very end.

Amazing, isn’t it?

In a time when most of us would be worried sick or consumed with how we are going to protect ourselves from evil, here is the future king of Israel, reminding himself of how faithful and true his God is, placing his trust in His Holy King to rescue him rather than working on a twelve-step escape plan to save his butt from his enemies.

Maybe that’s why Hollywood isn’t interested in this story. Who wants to watch a man under extreme pressure just sit in his living room singing praise songs to God? Who wants to switch on a movie that presents the hero as one who does his best work when he waits on God?

How boring is that?

Yet, David apparently knows something here so many of us don’t.

When push comes to shove and the enemy is surrounding us like a bunch of howling, hungry coyotes, David doesn’t get a gun, but grabs his harp. David doesn’t panic and call for his own hit squad, but sits back and fixes his gaze upon his loving God.

And yes, while it seems nonsensical to so many of us that anyone would approach life in this manner, history shows us that David took the right road. Waiting on God to make a pathway through our troubles will always outweigh using our own wisdom to save ourselves from evil that surrounds us.

Kinda reminds me of Paul and Silas in the New Testament (see Acts 16:25). When thrown into jail and awaiting a sentencing that most certainly will include flogging and death, here these two guys are found singing high praises to God. In a situation where I’d be found chewing my fingernails down to nothing, here we find Paul and Silas, praying to their loving Father, singing God-songs as they wait for Him to make a way through their dark hours.

For heaven’s sake, for all we know, Paul and Silas just might have been singing Psalm 59!

Not a bad idea the next time I find my house surrounded by the bad guys!

My prayer: Father, it makes so little sense to my human mind that David would choose to sing to You when he should have been digging an escape tunnel. Yet, apparently, there is more wisdom here than one might first imagine. Holy Spirit, empower me to remain calm and collected when under the gun, singing my praise songs to You, leaning on Your strength and not mine. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: So what needs to change in my thinking when I find myself under extreme pressure? If King David knew the wisdom of singing to God when faced with uncertainty and death, why can’t I act in similar ways? What steps can I take today to become a man of God who worships when all hell breaks out around me?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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