The Psalmist declared, “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul taketh refuge in thee: Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I take refuge, Until these calamities be overpast. My soul is among lions; I lie among them that are set on fire, Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword” (Psa. 57:1, 4).
With these words, David describes himself in a state of great adversity. The occasion that prompted this psalm was the desire of King Saul to kill David. Saul was jealous of David and wanted him terminated. David spent much of his early life fleeing from the wrath of Saul.
How did David cope with all this adversity? Was it through complaining, feeling sorry for himself, or having the “woe is me” syndrome? No! Amazingly, David overcame adversity by putting his trust in God, and by “Praising God!” David proclaims, “They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down: They have digged a pit before me; They are fallen into the midst thereof themselves” (Psa. 57:5-6).
What was David’s reaction to all of his troubles? Was it a voice of complaint? No! He praised God! “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let thy glory be above all the earth. My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing, yea, I will sing praise. I will give thanks unto thee, O, Lord, among the peoples: I will sing praises unto thee among the nations” (Psa. 57:5, 7, 9).
There is a valuable lesson to be learned from David’s reaction to misfortune. In time of trouble we should praise God! Do you remember what Paul said, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). We all too often, when trouble comes our way, stoop to complaining or feeling sorry for ourselves. But this is not the way that God would have us to react to difficulty.
When Peter and the others apostles were confronted with hardship – what was their reaction? “They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name” (Acts 5:41). When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, did they complain and feel sorry for themselves? No! The Scriptures say they prayed and sang praises to God (Acts 16:25)! Wouldn’t it be great if we could do less complaining and more praising God?
Why should we praise God in adversity? James gives us the answer, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing” (Jam. 1:2-4). Let we all strive to follow the biblical example of praising God in adversity, remembering how we benefit from such, and how others can benefit from the good example we set.
“Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let thy glory be above all the earth” (Psa. 57:5).