>Singing When Surrounded (Psalm 59)

>When David penned Psalm 59, he was trapped in his house, which was surrounded by men Saul had sent to kill him. Sort of puts one’s own troubles into perspective, doesn’t it?

When he says, “For behold, they lie in wait for my life,” it wasn’t hyperbole; it was reality.

David uses a simile to speak of these men:

Each evening they come back,
howling like dogs
and prowling about the city (6).

But the entire Psalm is interwoven with David’s confessions of hope in the Lord.

O my Strength, I will watch for you,
for you, O God, are my fortress.
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
God will let me look in triumph on my enemies (9 & 10).

As a writer, I am always struck by David’s commitment to tell others of God’s goodness:

But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love (16 & 17).

In difficult times, my heart is often so heavy and my mind so burdened that I cannot write. But David pours out his thoughts and feelings in prayers that include petitions and praise. On his blackest days, he still sings songs of golden praise.

All of which reminds me of a poem I wrote some years ago (to really understand it, it helps to be familiar with the Old Testament and “On His Blindness” by John Milton):


O Lord, if only You might pour on me
Abundant grace of Milton’s heavenly muse!
That this gray mind would empty shadows flee
And into golden praise itself would lose.

But Lord, I’m paralyzed with Barak’s fear
and blinded by my Pharasaic sight.
My hearing’s grown as hard as Pharoah’s ear,
While empty echoes rise to Babel’s height.

You, Lord, gave Milton songs of worthy praise
And You alone can cause me to grow bold—
Explode in reminiscent rhythmic phrase—
That I, like him, might sing a song of gold,

No deathly talent hid or Lord denied,
But God in every line be gloried!
© Glenda Mathes

This is the first week I’ve been able to accomplish any work since my mid-May surgery. I pray that God will equip me to sing praises literally in prayer and worship, but also in the writing I do for his glory.


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