Setting EXPECTATIONS upon GOD during our TROUBLES: "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. I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven and save me." (Psalms 57:1-3)
David was hiding from Saul in a cave when he wrote this Psalm, either in the cave of Adullam (1 Sam. 22:1–5) or, in one of the caves in the wilderness of Engedi (1 Sam. 24:1–7). While hiding in the cave, David was acutely aware of two ever-present realities before him: his powerful God who could deliver him and his mortal enemy Saul who could kill him. This psalm moves between these two entities, but David’s faith in God appears to be greater than his fear of Saul.
David recognizes that his deliverance cannot be earned, but would be the outcome of God’s mercy. So, David asks for mercy from God, an undeserved blessing stemming from God’s kindness. Like a chicken snuggled under the wings of the mother hen, David wants to take refuge in God until the storms of his life have passed by. This metaphor was first used in Deuteronomy 32:11 and is a favorite one in the Psalms (17:8; 36:7; 61:4; 63:7; 91:4). David will not simply hide in the cave, but under the shadow of the wings of the Mighty One who made the cave!
The image of God as a protective mother bird protecting her young from trouble communicates God’s compassion for His people. David’s faith transformed his cave into the very throne room of God (v. 1). His confidence was not in the rocks but under the wings of God (see Ruth 2:12). In spite of sharp teeth (v. 4), nets and pits (v. 6), David was sure of God’s help!
Our spiritual pipeline to heaven is also built upon our firm trust in God. If we are inflexible in our expectations of how God should work in our situation, we can run into disappointments. Sometimes during a crisis we make the mistake of shifting our focus from God to our painful circumstances. However, when we are flexible in our expectations, but confident in God’s steadfast love and care, then God will see us through to victory.
Let us set our expectations upon God during our troubles. Let us trust God, exalt Him and sing praises to Him even in our critical moments. This approach worked for David in his cave, and it will work for us today in our cave-like experiences as well.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge. (Psalms 91:1-4)