Sermon #15041                                   Miscellaneous Sermons


     Title:            A Dying Man’s Psalm

     Text:            Psalm 57:1-11

     Subject:       David’s Psalm When Fleeing From Saul

     Date:            Sunday Evening—June 23, 2002

     Tape #         X-8b

     Readings:     Bob Pruitt & Bob Duff



I had a rare and blessed privilege Wednesday night. As I sat in the house of God, I heard a dying man read the 57th Psalm. As he read it I tried, as best I could, to enter into his reading of the Psalm, to read it as he was reading it. How blessed I have been in meditating upon those eleven verses these past few days. Tonight, I want you to turn with me to Psalm 57. I have titled this message—A Dying Man’s Psalm.


Let’s begin with the title.


To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.


·        To the chief Musician—This Psalm was appointed by David to be sung in the house of God and led by the chief musician. The most skillful musician was to lead God’s saints in his worship as this Psam was sung in the temple.


·        Altaschith—This word means “destroy not.” There are four of these "Destroy not" Psalms, namely, the 57th, 58th, 59th, and 75th. In each of these Psalms there is both the distinct declaration that the wicked shall be destroyed no matter how strong they and others think they are and the confident assurance that God’s people can never be destroyed no matter how weak they and others think they are.


·        Michtam of David—Michtam means “golden.” This was one of those few Psalms that are distinguished as David’s golden compositions. It is called “A Golden Psalm of David” because it deals with golden treasures of grace.


·        When he fled from Saul in the cave—This Psalm was composed by David at a time when he was in great distress, hunted by Saul, maligned as a wicked man, living every moment in the face of death. On one occassion, he said to Jonathan, “Truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death” (1 Sam. 20:3).—In other words, this was a Psalm David, the man after God’s own heart penned when he thought he was about to die.


Verse 1


Psalms 57:1  Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.


·        Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me—There is nothing here but intensity, no pretense! When our souls are heavy, when we simply do not know how to pray, what we need, or what we want, when we come in our utter helplessness to God, this is how we pray—“Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me!”—What we want, what we need, what we must have is mercy! How I thank God for mercy!


1.     Eternal Mercy!

2.     Covenant Mercy!

3.     Pardoning Mercy!

4.     Daily Mercy!

5.     Immutable Mercy!

6.     Saving Mercy!

7.     He delighteth in mercy!


(Lamentations 3:21-26)  "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. (22) It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (24) The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (25) The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. (26) It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."


·        For my soul trusteth in thee—I can’t say much, but this I can and must say.—“My soul trusteth in Thee!” There is no stronger argument with the Almighty, who delights in mercy. This I know—

“If I die with mercy sought,

When I the King have tried,

This were to die (Delightful thought!)

As sinner never died!”


·        Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge—Spurgeon wrote, “As the little birds find ample shelter beneath the parental wing, even so would the fugitive place himself beneath the secure protection of the divine power. The emblem is delightfully familiar and suggestive. May we all experimentally know its meaning. When we cannot see the sunshine of God's face, it is blessed to cower down beneath the shadow of his wings.”—I can’t always see his face; but I can always hide beneath the shadow of his wings, because he spreads his wings over me.


·        Until these calamities be overpast—As my brother read those words the other night, I thought, “I think I have some idea what those calamities are that are pressing so heavy upon your soul.”


1.     The needs of that wife I love, who has loved me so much.

2.     My children—my grand children!

3.     The church of God.

4.     The apprehensions and fears honest men face.


Blessed be God, the calamities will soon be overpast! Evil will soon flee away. And the wings of the Almighty will abide over us until all evil is gone forever! Blessed be God, our calamities are matters of time; but our safety is a matter of eternity. When we are under the shadow of the Omnipotent God, the passing over of trouble cannot hurt us! The hawk of hell flies across the sky, but for those feeble souls, as feeble as baby chicks, there is no danger while they are safely nestling beneath the shadow of our Savior’s wings.


(Isaiah 26:20)  "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."


When the dragon of hell pursues our souls, we are bidden of Christ to take refuge beneath the shadow of his wings; and we do! This is where you will find faith resting in the midst of storms (Ps. 17:8; 61:4; Matt. 23:37; Rev. 12:6, 15, 16).


(Psalms 17:8)  "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,"


(Psalms 61:4)  "I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah."


(Revelation 12:6)  "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days."—That place is Christ!


(Revelation 12:15-16)  "And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. (16) And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth."


(Matthew 23:37)  "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"


Now, look at verse 2.


Psalms 57:2  I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.


·        I will cry unto God most high—Our God is God most high! He is infinitely higher than the calamities that trouble us and the foes that assail us!


·        Unto God that performeth all things for me—How I love those words! O Lord, give me grace always to realize this, and nothing shall greatly disturb me!


1.     The phrase is accurately translated. God performs all things for me.—In Providence!—In Grace!

2.     But this phrase might very accurately be transated—“perfecteth all things for me.


(Psalms 138:8)  "The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands."


3.     The phrase could just as accurately be translated “fulfilleth all things for me.”—His Covenant—His Purposes—His Promises!—My Days-“When the days of his life were fulfilled…


How? How can I say, with confidence that God performs, perfects, and fulfills all things for me? Look at..


Verse 3


Psalms 57:3  He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.


·        He shall send from heaven—Did he not send bread from heaven? Did he not send angels from heaven to fight for his people? Did he not send his Son from heaven to redeem me? Did he not send his Spirit from heaven to fetch me? He shall send from heaven…


·        And save me!—He has saved me!—He is saving me!—He shall soon save me!—“Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed!” – (Rom. 8:33-34).


·        From the reproach of him that would swallow me up—As Saul would have swallowed up David’s life, so Satan would swallow me up. But that shall not be!


·        Selah—Take a long breath, my troubled soul, pause and think this over.


·        God shall send forth his mercy and his truth—God saves by mercy and by truth. “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged!”—Mercy and truth met together at Calvary. There righteousness and peace kissed each other. And the two shall never be parted!—God’s mercy and God’s truth demand and shall perform my salvation!


Verse 4


Psalms 57:4  My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.


·        My soul is among lions—Satan—My Own Sins—Ungodly Me—“My soul was among lions.


1. So was my Lord in the wilderness.

2. The lions are chained.

3. They have neither fangs nor claws.

4. Their howling is all they can do.

5. I shall come out of their den alive, unhurt, honoured.

6. The Lion of Judah is with me.

7. I shall soon be among the angels


·        And I lie even among them that are set on fire—Even here, grace known and experienced in the soul causes God child to lie down, like Daniel of old.


(Psalms 3:5)  "I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me."


(Psalms 4:8)  "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety."


(Isaiah 11:6-9)  "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (7) And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (8) And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. (9) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."


·        Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword—Gossip—Slander.


(Proverbs 30:14)  "There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men."


Verse 5


Psalms 57:5  Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.


·        God’s glory is that which sets him apart from and above all others.

·        God’s glory is his Son!


Verse 6


Psalms 57:6  They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.


As the ungodly prepared a net for our Savior, so they prepare a net for us. But, as surely God our Father sets on his throne Haman shall be hanged upon his own gallows!


Verse 7


Psalms 57:7  My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.


The believing heart, especially when pressed by many weighty calamities often experiences contradicting emotions and conditions at the same time. In verses 1, 4, 6, and 7, David says, My soul trusteth in thee... My soul is among lions... My soul is bowed down... My heart is fixed.


·        My heart is fixed.”— We might have expected David to say, “My heart is wavering." But that was not the case. He was calm, firm, happy, resolute, established. He was in a stormy sea. But he was in the good ship GRACE, and his ANCHOR was the Rock of Ages! My heart is fixed because you have fixed it!


·        O God, my heart is fixed.”— I am resolved to trust you, to serve you, and to praise you. Twice does he declares this to the glory of God who thus comforts the souls of his servants. Once let the heart be fixed upon the glory of God and the heart is fixed! Then, all is well. Because my heart is fixed, my heart is prepared for what lies before me.—“My heart is fixed…


1.     Upon my God.

2.     Upon Christ!

3.     Upon His will.

4.     Upon His Word.

5.     Upon His Salvation.

6.     Upon my Eternal Home!

7.     Because my heart is fixed upon Christ, the Rock of my salvation, I shall not be confounded, confused, or put to shame


(Psalms 101:1)  “I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.”


(Psalms 112:6-8)  “Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. (7) He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. (8) His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.”


(Psalms 118:14-23)  “The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. (15) The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. (16) The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. (17) I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. (18) The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. (19) Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: (20) This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. (21) I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. (22) The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. (23) This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.”


(Isaiah 28:16)  “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”


(1 Peter 2:6-7)  “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (7) Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.”


·        I will sing and give praise.”— I celebrate thy worship. With lip and with heart will I ascribe honour to him. Neither Saul, nor the Philistines, nor Satan shall not stop me. I will sing praise to my God in my dark cave of trouble, in the valley of woe, on the mountain top, and at last upon his holy hill of Zion! Oh, what a blessed determination! My soul in all seasons shall magnify the Lord.


“Sing, though sense and carnal reason

Fain would stop the joyful song:

Sing, and count it highest treason

For my mouth to hold its tongue.”


Verse 8


Psalms 57:8  Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.


Here David would, as it were, arouse his soul from the dullness that comes from being bowed down with care. But I am sure there is more here than that. This is not merely a call to his soul to awake. It is an expression of the anticipation of his soul.


·        The awakening of his glory, I do not doubt, was prophetic of the resurrection glory of Christ, who is the glory of his people.


(1 Corinthians 1:30-31)  "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."


·        The awakening of his harp refers to the awakening of all his manhood to the praise of God our Savior.


·        The awakening of himself referred to his confident hope of resurrection. It is as though he said, “I must sleep for a while, but not for long. I will sleep lightly. And I will awake soon.


Illustration: The Robin’s Eggs


Verse 9


Psalms 57:9  I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.


What could be more appropriate than the praise of our God? I will praise my God among his people and among the nations.


·        In His House.

·        By Open Profession.

·        In Heavenly Glory!


Verse 10


Psalms 57:10  For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.


I am utterly incapable of saying enough about God’s mercy and God’s truth revealed in his Son in the saving of my soul.


·        The mercy of God reaches to the heavens.


1.     As a throne. God is exalted in our eyes by his mercy.

2.     As a ladder. By mercy we ascend from earth to heaven.

3.      As a rainbow surrounding the throne.

4.     As a mountain. Its base is on the earth though its summit is lost in clouds. The influence of the cross towers to the heaven of heavens. Who can tell the glory of the summit of this mountain, whose base is refulgent with glory!


·        How I rejoice in the amazing greatness of God’s mercy!


1.     It is not said merely that it is high as heaven, but great unto the heavens.

2.     Mercy reaches down to the lowest depths of sin and death and degradation and lifts us up to the highest height of heaven and glory and salvation!

3.     It is high as the heavens, infinitely higher than my sin! Infinitely higher than my highest thoughts of it!

4.     It is wide as the far reaching sky, reaching to and saving sinners of all ages, countries, classes, and races!

5.     It is deep. God’s mercy is deep and eternally abiding, laid in the everlasting foundation of his infinite wisdom.


·        Without question, mercy and truth here (as in Psalm 85) refer to our all-glorious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.


(Psalms 85:8-13)  "I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. (9) Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. (10) Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (11) Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (12) Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. (13) Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps."


Verse 11


Psalms 57:11  Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.


Someone wrote, “Greater words of prayer than these never came from human lips. Heaven and earth have as they imply, a mutually interwoven history, and the blessed, glorious end of this is in the sunrise of the Divine glory over both.”


·        The fabric of all human history is mercy, truth, and glory.

·        The fabric of my life is mercy, and truth, and glory.

·        So it is.

·        So it shall be!










1       Date:               (Danville) Sunday Evening—June 23, 2002

                                Lantana Grace Church, Crossville, TN (Friday PM 06/21/02)

        Tape #            X-8b

        Readings:      Bob Pruitt & Bob Duff