–For us to understand this psalm, we also need to read 1 Samuel 21:10-15. This song comes from David’s personal experience: when Saul was hunting David because he wanted to kill him.–
Before we can look at this poem as an exhortation to trust, we must first know that David’s circumstances come at a moment of fear and self-preservation. Naturally, we all go through difficult moments where we use mechanisms of defense that provide us some amount of security; we call these mechanisms, instinct. Of course, instinct helps us in the preservation of human life, such as in unconscious and meaningful activities like breathing, eating, etc. However, when this instinct is used without God and the Holy Spirit’s direction, man can find himself faced several problems. David, feeling chased for so long, finds a possibly logical solution, but that is also hasty. Suddenly, that which felt safe becomes unsafe: David decides to go into the land of the Philistines. In order to feel safe, the young David looks for refuge in enemy terrain. This decision would have resulted in his death if it were not for the brilliant idea to pretend to be crazy, which saw him freed from the presence of the Philistine king, Achish. How important it is to know where one should seek refuge.
“Hasty attitudes bring disastrous consequences.”
This psalm is an acrostic, which was a way that the Jews wrote to make memorization of texts easier. In this song, each verse starts with a letter of the alphabet. The first question we must ask is: Why was it that this Psalm should be easily memorized?
It seems that David had a personal experience about God’s character that he didn’t want to forget. It’s very likely that he had forgotten this when he decided to look for sanctuary in the land of the Philistines.
The lesson that we can learn here is that we should never look for refuge away from God, outside of His limits. David discovers that all security outside of God is false and misleading. Faced with situations that fence us in, we should remember that He is our safety, in Him we have all the protection and covering that we need.
However, what about when it’s not possible to “feel” that protection? For David, expressing his feelings through this psalm, he recognized that God never comes late and that for each person the job is simple: Fear the Lord (v. 9-14). Just like David, we should keep this principle present in our memory: God is our security.
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”