Psalm 56 and 57 … Consider Him Who Is Gracious to Save

Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me.
My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me,
(56:1-2).

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me,
For my soul takes refuge in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge
Until destruction passes by,
(57:1).

Be Gracious: “2603. חָנַן ḥānan: A verb meaning to be gracious toward, to favor, to have mercy on…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

I grew up in the age of black and white television. My family was one of the last of all my friends to finally get a color television, so even after shows were being filmed in color, in my house, they were still in black and white. Shows about the wild west were particularly popular back then. And as I read the first two verses of Psalms 56 and 57, a familiar scene flashed before my eyes… in black and white… that of a stampede. Stampedes happened often in these shows. The cowboys would be driving their cattle along, when suddenly something would spook the herd, setting off a chain reaction that was unstoppable. And invariably, someone would be caught under the clamoring rush of dozens of hooves, with no hope of escape, left totally defenseless, praying the destruction would somehow pass by. As a small child, I remember thinking how glad I was that I did not live back then, under the constant threat of being trampled by a herd of wild steer.

And an image of David emerged, crouched in a fetal position, covering his head, crying out, engulfed in this chaotic, overpowering annihilation, begging for God’s Grace to swoop in and somehow save him.

And then I was reminded of a more recent scene, this one in color; Disney’s the Lion King. After the evil Scar had lured the young, naïve Simba into the valley of doom and set off a stampede that threatens to consume his very life, Simba’s cries for help alert his father, Mufasa. Instantly, with no thought for his own safety, Mufasa rushes in to rescue and save, picking up his defenseless child in the strength of his jowls, taking the destruction upon himself.

I saw David, protected, rescued and saved like that; and I saw myself, as well as every other human being who has cried out in faith to Him Who Is Gracious to Save.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8).

And once again in the Psalms, Jesus is there; Jesus Who Is Gracious to Save.

Consider Him Who Is Gracious to Save

  • He Is Gracious to Save; He is always for us.
    • Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
      This I know, that God is for me,
      (56:9).
    • What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32).
  • He Is Gracious to Save; He is faithful to His Word.
    • Your vows are binding upon me, O God;
      I will render thank offerings to You,
      (56:12).
    • For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us, (1 Corinthians 1:20).
  • He Is Gracious to Save; delivering our soul from death.
    • For You have delivered my soul from death…(56:13).
    • Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives, (Hebrews 2:14-15).
  • He Is Gracious to Save; that we would walk securely in His light and light.
    • …Indeed my feet from stumbling,
      So that I may walk before God
      In the light of the living,
      (56:13).
    • Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life,” (John 8:12).
  • He Is Gracious to Save, accomplishing His purpose for us.
    •  I will cry to God Most High,
      To God who accomplishes all things for me,
      (57:2).
    • And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified, (Romans 8:28-30).
  • He Is Gracious to Save; sending forth His abounding lovingkindness and truth.
    • He will send from heaven and save me;
      He reproaches him who tramples upon me. Selah.
      God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth…
      10 For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens
      And Your truth to the clouds,
      (57:3, 10).
    • “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” (John 3:16-17).
    •  In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures, (James 1:18).
  • He Is Gracious to Save; exalted in His glorious gift of salvation.
    • Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
      Let Your glory be above all the earth.
      (57:11).
    • Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, (Philippians 2:8-11).

How do we respond to Him Who Is Gracious to Save?

Sin. It’s like a stampede, chaotic, seemingly unstoppable, threatening to overpower and annihilate us, unless we cry out for the salvation provided in Jesus Christ.

…“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” (Acts 16:30-31).

But there are menacing stampedes from other sources as well. Suffering and affliction come in all shapes and sizes; and it’s not always black and white. Temptations, persecutions, trials, sickness, loss of loved ones, emotional insecurities and anxiety about the future all threaten to crush us beneath their weight. And in those times of agony, when we cry out to Him, He is there.

There is not one cry for help, not one groan or sigh that He does not hear. And not only does He know and hear our cries, He preserves and records every tear. Does that just blow your mind, that He cares that much?

You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?
(56:8).

Although life brings its fair share of hardships and sufferings, we can be certain He will never leave us terror-stricken, beneath the crushing charge of the enemy; for when we place our faith in His sacrificial death, when we trust that He took upon Himself the destruction of sin in our place, we are forever His in Christ and He is forever Gracious to Save.

 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day, (2 Timothy 1:12).

But the truth is, some things in life are scary. When we are facing fear, we must choose to boldly put our trust in Him; that’s faith in action; faith that believes He Is Gracious to Save when the wild herd is heading our way.

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You,
(56:3).

And He has provided His Word, that our trust would be strengthened. Let us not neglect His Word, for He has given us His Word to embolden us to face every challenge with praise and courage as we grow in the knowledge of Him Who Is Gracious to Save.

In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?
(56:4).

Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
In the Lord, whose word I praise,
11 In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
(56:9-11).

When we are afraid, rather than fixating on the doom and gloom, let’s choose to sing; for praise and fear really can’t coexist. Oh, that we would choose to sing, in steadfast faith, the praises of Him Who Is Gracious to Save.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
(57:7-8).

And let us declare our thanks and praises before all people, wherever He may send us; that our lives lived in faith, thanksgiving and praise would exalt Him Who Is Gracious to Save.

I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations…
11 Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
(57:9, 11).

Let’s Grow Together!

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