Psalm 57: Under God’s Wings
Right now, hiding under God’s wings and staying there until spring sounds like a great idea. The bitter cold and snow we are experiencing in the Midwest puts me into hibernation mode. I’m craving carbs to put on layers of fat to keep me warm! Not a good place to be. Under God’s wings, however, now that’s a good place any time of year. The writer of Psalm 57 knows about finding shelter under God’s wings but the enemies he is fleeing are far worse than bitter cold.
The writer of Psalm 57 finds himself in dire straits. His enemies are devouring him, like a lion chews on his prey, “I lie in the midst of lions that greedily devour the sons of men; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongues sharp swords.” (4)
He is the victim of false accusations, slander and gossip that is tearing his life apart. We don’t know the actual situation, as is commonly the case in the Psalms. This allows us to speculate and place ourselves in his situation. Perhaps political intrigue. Perhaps office politics and rumors set to destroy reputations. Maybe he has been falsely accused of committing a crime.
Trust in God’s Protection
Psalm 57 starts with the plea, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge.” (1a) Like Psalm 56 it is the appeal of a good person to God for deliverance from his enemies.
The writer takes refuge in the shadow of God’s wings, a statement of confidence in God’s protection, “in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (1b) He continues in his trust that God will prevail, “I cry to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me, he will put to shame those who trample upon me. God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.” (2-3)
The gruesome image of being gnawed upon by lions is followed by a proclamation of God’s greatness, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (5)
The Plot Thickens
After these words of confident trust, he continues his story. His enemies have set a trap for him. It looks hopeless, “They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit on my way.” Then a surprise ending, “but they have fallen into it themselves.” Somehow God caught his enemies in their own trap! It is the story of many great movies as the bad guys are tripped up. Their plan has backfired.
The means to trap the hero has become the means of their destruction. Perhaps they were caught in their lies. In this day of technology, they would be caught on tape plotting out their evil misdeeds.
The last five verses comprise a hymn of joyful thanksgiving, with good reason. “I will sing and make melody!” (7b) the writer shouts. He proclaims God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. “For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” (10)
Application to Life
Have you ever been falsely accused of something? Or been the victim of slander, lies and gossip? I may not have experienced anything as dramatic as the writer of Psalm 57, but I know what it is to be the target of gossip. In those situations, the best recourse is to remain under the protection of God’s wings, trusting that truth will ultimately prevail. Those hearing the gossip will recognize it for what it is.
Sometimes, the best thing to do in a situation is to simply let God be God.
Psalm 57 reminds us that if we remain faithful, our God who is steadfast in his love and mercy will be faithful to us, “My heart is steadfast, O God . . . For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” (7a, 10)
What has been your experience of resting under God’s wings?
This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and and receive a free copy of Still Dancing, the second book in my Dancing through Life Series. click here to sign up
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