Years ago, Brooke Benton recorded a song called, A Rainy Night in Georgia. As you might guess from the title, it was a melancholy tune that told the story of a man who had fallen on hard times. As the song began, it was late in the evening and he was “tryin’ to find a warm place to spend the night.” He had a suitcase, an old guitar, and a picture of someone who was very special to him. The song left us to guess at the details of what went wrong, but it left no doubt that something did. He finally ended up in an empty boxcar. The rain was falling and it was hard for him to go to sleep. Not only was it a rainy night in Georgia, but he believed it must have been raining all over the world. It wasn’t a meteorological statement he was making, but one that described the depths of his despair.
Raining all over the world—we’ve all felt that way at one time or another. I think that’s how David must have felt as he penned Psalm 57. The superscription says it was written while he was hiding in a cave while fleeing from King Saul, who was trying to kill him. This would fit with what we find in I Samuel 22:1ff and 24:1ff. The psalm itself is instructive because it is not what we would expect from a person in David’s situation. Instead of being an intense, unending plea for deliverance, it is a call for God to be exalted — above the heavens and throughout the earth. This is found in v. 5 and again in v. 11 and anchors the psalm.
It’s not that David is in denial of his problems or too “spiritual” to mention them. In fact, he details his circumstances for God in the way we often do. He speaks of his enemies as lions, ravenous beasts, men having teeth like spears and arrows and tongues like sharp swords (v. 4). They spread a net for him, and dug a pit for him to fall in (v. 6a). He hasn’t ignored his difficulties. He’s brought them before God in a straightforward manner.
But there was more to David’s story than his problems and (thankfully) he recognized that. He was enabled because of what he saw in the cave. What did He see?
- He saw himself as completely dependent upon God. “…in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (v. 1)
- He saw God in complete control. “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills (his purpose) for me,” (v. 2)
- He saw himself committed to living out what he believed. “Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples,” (v. 8-9)
- He saw good things in God. “For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies,” (v. 10)
The world is full of two kinds of people: those who believe because they see and those who see because they believe. The key to seeking God in all seasons of life as David did is to see the King in all situations—especially in the caves!