Living and Working with a Tough Crowd

In Psalm 57, David was called to live with a tough crowd. They were with him morning, noon, and night. He couldn't escape them. It would have been easier to just walk away from the whole situation, but that was not God's plan. 

God's Word affirms four truths. Life is hard, pain is real, suffering is unavoidable and weariness with life is normal. That is what David found, and that is what most people who are honest will tell you. 

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise (Psalm 57:7)

David is saying— 

  • I’m not going back to trying to rescue myself like I did in Gath (Psalm 34) and miserably failed.
  • I’m not going back to refusing to look at You and feeling abandoned (Psalm 13) and suffering through those long dark days.
  • I’m not going back to laying in the mud of my sin and despair (Psalm 40, 70) in the pits of life. 

No, my heart is fixed. I am holding on from now on to You! Here is how I will minister when surrounded by troubles. 

The word David uses gives us a perfect picture of what the Lord of our life wants to accomplish in us through the caves of trouble we endure.  

A heart to minister in a cave of troubles is a heart that is “fixed”. Fixed on what? Look at the other times this Hebrew word kuwn is used. A heart to minister is-- 

A heart prepared to seek God’s Word. Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

A life ordered by God's Word. Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. 

A way established by God's Word. Psalm 40:2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps

A spirit renewed by God's Word. Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Emotions anchored by God's Word. Psalm 112:7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 

A walk directed by God's Word. Psalm 119:133 Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me. 

A mind guarded by God's Word. Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established

A heart guided by God's Word. Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. 

That is the key to living triumphantly through the caves of life. Can I repeat what God has offered us? 

A heart prepared; A life ordered; A way established; A spirit renewed; Emotions anchored; A walk directed; A mind guarded; and a heart guided!  That is worth all the trouble it took for David to get it. 

From this cave time David goes on to the most fruitful years of his life with an unbroken string of spiritual and material triumphs. He rises to the highest levels of leadership, worship, and heritage. What an incredible time of his life.  

And all that seems to start right here in Psalm 57. So let’s go to the place where David learned to live in the midst of troubled people. Three types of men came: those who were in distress, those who were in debt, and those who were discontented. Here are four lessons we can trace from this Psalm. They parallel the situation in life we face in an unexpected breakdown of our car. 

  1. When Troubles come—David pulls over and calls for help from the Lord. HIS HOPE IS IN THE LORD. (v. 1-3) In his earlier life we see David in great distress. David's problems in I Samuel 24 are the backdrop as he searches for strength in Psalm 57. He finds it in God Himself.  Remember, he is in a weak time in life. This is when depression often hits.  
  • Psalm 57:1-3 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by. 2 I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me. 3 He shall send from heaven and save me; He reproaches the one who would swallow me up. God shall send forth His mercy and His truth. 

So what is my plan when trying to minister? When troubles come we first must cry out to the Lord, put in a call. 

  1. Then David waits for the Tow Truck. HIS STRENGTH COMES FROM THE LORD. (v. 1-11) Note that David talks about God seven times, That is a complete set. He is saying that God is enough. God and God alone is enough. He knew, and trusted, and rested in—the God who is enough!  
  • Psalm 57:1-11 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. 2 I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me. 3 He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; Selah God sends his love and his faithfulness. 4 I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts -- men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. 6 They spread a net for my feet -- I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path -- but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah 7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. 8 Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. 9  I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. 10  For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. (NIV) 
  1. Sitting in the waiting room he grows. HIS DISCOVERIES ARE NOW ABOUT THE LORD. (v. 1, 5, 7, 11) Note how David doubles three aspects of God's nature.
  • This is what David finds: God is Gracious, God is Steadfast, God is Praise Worthy.
  • With this truth to hold onto, he testifies that it works. And he gets his focus off his troubles.  He went beyond his cave world and onto Lord!!

Psalm 57:1  Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. Psalm 57:5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.   And in v.7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.  And in v. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. (NIV)

  1. Finally David drives off from the situation deeply blessed for the hard time. HIS FOCUS IS ON THE LORD. (v. 5, 11) Finally David gets God’s perspective that lifts him above the storm of Saul’s murderous pursuit, above the din of hundreds of needy and desperate men—and into the peaceful calm around the Throne of God! More than any self pity or gloom, he clings to the Lord.  

When we are at our depths—God is inviting us to His heights! 

Psalm 57:4-5, 10-11 I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts— men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. 5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.  10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. 11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.   

As a New Testament writer Paul reminds us: 

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

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