Last night we looked at Psalm 57, one of the psalms written by David when he was in a cave, fleeing from Saul. The historical background to the psalm is found in 1 Samuel 17-24: how David was anointed king by Samuel, found favour with Saul through his musical skills and through the slaying of the giant Goliath, how he lost favour with Saul who was jealous of the people’s love for David and fearful of his own loss of favour with God (see 1 Samuel 15 for the story of Saul’s disobedience and 1 Samuel 18:7 for the root of his jealousy and irrational hatred of him.) David ended up fleeing for his life, confused and bewildered by Saul. There seemed no rhyme or reason to what he was going through, and certainly no chance that Samuel’s prophetic word would come true in his life. There are often times of great confusion in our lives, but we need not despair in those times.

Faced with this situation, David wrote a song. He showed us strategies for coping with trouble in this psalm which can help us today. He could look trouble directly in the face (verses 4 and 6 explicitly mention the trouble he was in and the pain this caused him), but he could also see God beyond the troubles (see verses 1, 3, 5, 10). He was able to acknowledge God’s character: providing mercy and refuge (verse 1), a God who sends forth love and faithfulness (verse 3), a God who delivers (verse 3 & 6). He was also able to focus on his own response to God: taking refuge in the shadow of God’s wings, crying out to God for mercy, singing and making music to God, having a steadfast heart before God, praying for God to be exalted even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Being in a cave is an apparently restricting experience. But David knew that God was a solid foundation beneath his feet and that He was exalted above the heavens. There are no restrictions, no ‘glass ceiling’, on what God can do in our lives. David discovered, as Paul did later, that God’s grace was sufficient for Him (see 2 Cor 12:10). The wilderness wanderings can teach us much about the all-sufficiency of God!