This is a song written by someone who needs help and safety (v1-2), and is threatened by malicious pursuers (v10-11). And yet repeated throughout the psalm is a desire to sing: even in the midst of this frightening experience, they keep finding reasons to sing God’s praises (v8, v15-16, v22-23).
The language about their situation alternates between past, present and future. They need help in their immediate situation (v10-11), but what gives them courage to pray in the present (v1-4) is remembering God’s kindness to them in their past (v5-7, 17). This also gives them a quiet confidence that he will do the same again in the future (v9, 18). And look at the result: an ever-present hope, and joyful, repeated praise (v14).
We’re never quite as safe as we think. Life can be going well one minute, and then suddenly we can find ourselves in a situation that is unknown and terrifying. How do we know we can trust God when we are threatened? By considering what he has done for us in the past.
You may have examples in your life when God came through for you in surprising ways. Or, you may have never even considered him until now. But all that time he has been working, with your good in mind. Look at what he has done for you in the past – in particular, through the life of his Son Jesus – and you will find the courage you need to trust him today; so much so, that your heart can sing.
PRAYER: Father God, please show me today your loving and kind actions of the past. Give me hope and confidence to trust you and praise you today and tomorrow. Amen.
1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my rock of refuge,to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.
5 For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.
6 From my birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you.
7 I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendour all day long.
9 Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
10 For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together.
11 They say, ‘God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no-one will rescue him.’
12 Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me.
13 May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 As for me, I shall always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long –
though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvellous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
21 You will increase my honour and comfort me once more.
22 I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you –
I whom you have delivered.
24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.