I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. – Psalm 57:2 ESV
David is hiding in a cave. He is running from a madman who also happens to be the king of Israel. Saul has an unhealthy dislike for David, fueled by jealousy and fear. As a result, he has placed a bounty on David’s head, sending 3,000 mercenaries to hunt him down and bring him back dead or alive.
That’s the scenario in which we find David as he writes this Psalm and expresses his desire for God to show him mercy. This had to have been a confusing time for David. He had been anointed by the prophet Nathan and told he would be the next king of Israel. But instead of sitting on a throne in Jerusalem, he was hiding in a cave in the wilderness of Judea, running for his life from the very man he was supposed to be replacing. Yet David knew that God had a plan for his life and while his circumstances were less than ideal and didn’t exactly make sense, he was going to trust God. So he cried out, “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. I cry out to God Most High…” (1 Samuel 57:1-2 ESV). And why did he cry out to God? Because he knew that, ultimately, God would fulfill His purpose for him. He would be king one day – according to God’s plan and in keeping with God’s divine schedule. In the meantime, he was going to have to trust God to keep him alive. If God had promised to make him king, then he was going to take God at His word and wait for Him to fulfill His promise according to His schedule.
David was confident in God, which is why he could say, “He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!” (1 Samuel 57:3 ESV). While waiting on God’s fulfillment of His promise, David was content to enjoy God’s love and faithfulness. Becoming king was the ultimate outcome of God’s word to David, but any delay in that happening was NOT to be viewed as an indication of a lack of love on God’s part. The fact that David was having to run for his life, suffer the anxiety of knowing he was a wanted man, and never knowing when God would fulfill His promise, was NOT to be seen as a lack of God’s faithfulness. But isn’t that where we go when things don’t go our way? Don’t we naturally assume God has fallen out of love with us when times get tough? Aren’t we prone to doubt God’s faithfulness when our circumstances take a turn for the worse? Yet David was willing to wait and trust. He was content to rest in the love and faithfulness of God and see any delays as just a part of God’s divine plan for fulfilling the purpose for his life.
Twice in this psalm David praises God by saying, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Psalm 57:5 ESV). While his situation was anything but ideal, he knew that God was still in control. He was in heaven. He was in charge. He knew what He was doing. And God could be trusted no matter what David might see going around him. Which is why he could say, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!” (Psalm 57:7 ESV). It was the exalted nature of God that gave David confidence and steadfastness in the midst of difficulty. His God was bigger than his problems. His God was more powerful than his enemies. His God was able to fulfill His promise regardless of the dire nature of David’s circumstances.
God has a purpose for my life. He has a purpose for your life. We can’t judge what God is doing based on what we see happening around us. Difficulty in our lives is not necessarily an indication of God’s disfavor or it should never be viewed as a sign of God’s unfaithfulness. He knows how the story ends. We don’t. He has a purpose that He is fulfilling according to His will and perfect keeping with His agenda. We can trust Him. Our greatest desire should be that He be exalted in and through our lives. We should want to see Him lifted up as He reaches down and fulfills His purpose for us right on schedule and according to plan. And in the meantime, we should put our trust in Him. We can look up, cry out to and wait on Him, because He will fulfill His purpose for us.