When the enemy surrounds you and backs you into a corner, the best thing to do is worship the Lord. The introduction to Psalm 57 tells us it was written about the time David fled from Saul into the cave. David hid from Saul a couple of times in a cave (1 Samuel 22:1; 24:3). David didn’t stay long in either cave, just long enough to regroup and write psalms of praise and prayer (see also Psalm 142). The last place I would want to be if being chased by a madman and his army is hemmed up in a dead-end cave, especially if that madman entered the cave (see 1 Samuel 24:3)! David had the opportunity to kill Saul in the cave at Engedi but did not. You see, David’s refuge was not a cave but the Lord. He knew a cave couldn’t hide him forever, but the “shadow of the Lord’s wing” could (Psalm 57:1). He knew the best way to fight his battle was to pray and praise.
David began the psalm by saying, “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me”. He desperately needed God’s undeserved and unearned favor. We always need the mercy of the Lord, not just when backed into a cave. If the enemy surrounded you in a literal cave, would you be writing a worship song? David spent a good portion of his twenties running from Saul. I’m sure he had moments where he thought, “Ok, Lord. You anointed me to be king as a kid, helped me defeat Goliath as a teenager, and now I’m spending my twenties in caves on the run. What gives?” David trusted the Lord and knew He would protect him “until the disaster had passed” (v. 1). He knew God was faithful, loving, and holy (vv. 2-3, 10). God’s character consoled David in his calamity. Surrounded by vicious enemies, what else could David do but pray and praise? He gave God glory before deliverance (vv. 5, 11).
You know your heart and mind are at ease when you can concentrate enough to “sing and make music” (v. 7). Although David’s enemy had “spread a net for his feet” and “dug a pit for his path,” David told his soul (thoughts, will, emotions, feeling, desires, etc.) to get up, praise the Lord, and sing a song of worship (vv. 8-9). While David had armies with him and had the opportunity to kill his oppressor, he waited on the Lord to deliver him. Even though David was physically in a small cave, his faith in the Lord wasn’t small or confined. He had the faith and vision to praise the God of the whole heavens and the earth (vv. 5, 9-11). If God created the entire heavens and earth, surely He had not forgotten David in a tiny cave. David trusted God for deliverance so much he waited with prayer and praise.
- When your back’s against the wall, what do you do?
- Is your soul content in calamity to the point of prayer and praise?
- Can you give God the glory He deserves while still in the cave?
Lord, when my back’s against the wall, I will pray and praise. I will exalt You and trust in Your plan. Please help me not to stay in the cave of fear. May praise and prayer encourage me to come out and trust You as I face my fears. Thank you for Your mercy, love, and faithfulness. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.