Psalms 57–59: My Refuge & My Strength

Read the Bible in 2011–2021* ◊ Week 20: Wednesday

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me,
For my soul takes refuge in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge
Until destruction passes by.
I will cry to God Most High,
To God who accomplishes all things for me.
Psalm 57:1–2

All three psalms in Wednesday’s Bible reading of Psalms 57–59, are psalms of David. Pray and ask God through His Word to enable you to know that He is your refuge and  strength, and to help you trust Him in your own times of distress.

Psalms 57 and 59 are also psalms “written on the run” and belong to his days of persecution by Saul: when he did in caves (Psalm 57: cf 1 Samuel 22:1 or 24:3) and when his wife, Michal, who was also Saul’s daughter, had to lower David from a window because Saul was watching his house to seize him and kill him (Psalm 59: cf. 1 Samuel 19:11–18).

As you read Psalm 57, remember David is hiding in a cave. Refuge is a common word in the psalms. David uses it frequently. He needed God as His refuge so often because he had no other safe place. Notice the word refuge in Psalm 57, and see how he describes those who are after him:

My soul is among lions;
I must lie among those who breathe forth fire,
Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows
And their tongue a sharp sword.
Psalm 57:4

There’s a sharp change in verse 5. How does David describe God in the rest of the psalm and how does he describe himself?

Psalm 58 describes the wicked: their heart and their actions. Notice that David is asking to God to take vengeance.

Alec Motyer titles Psalm 58, A Trial of Strength, because of

“the fourfold references to ‘strong’ and ‘strength’ around which the psalm is written: the first reference is to how strong the enemies are (3). The exclamation in verse 9, ‘his strength’, the strength of David’s God, ‘your strength’ (16), and finally God as ‘my strength’ (17).”1

Notice also how often David calls God his stronghold.

For behold, they have set an ambush for my life;
Fierce2 men launch an attack against me
Psalm 59:3
Because of his strength I will watch for You,
For God is my stronghold.
Psalm 59:9
But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 59:16
O my strength, I will sing praises to You;
For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.
Psalm 59:17

Remember these psalms. They are God’s Word. They are handholds for you in your day of distress. Even as in David’s day, God is our strength, our stronghold, and our refuge.


Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
Michal lowering David from a window from The Bible panorama, or The Holy Scriptures in picture and story: Public domain.
1,2Alec Motyer, Psalms By The Day: A New Devotional Translation (Christian Focus Publications Ltd, Ross-shire, Scotland, U.K. 2016) 155. He translates “fierce” in verse 3 as “strong.”

*In 2011 I started a year-long series of posts, “Read the Bible in 2011.” You can find the other posts in the navigation menu in the header. If a day doesn’t have a link to a post, the post was simply a brief reminder about the reading. I’m filling in some of those gaps with new posts with “Read the Bible in 2011 Redux” as a category.

Copyright ©2011–2021 Iwana Carpenter

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