So that I may walk before God In the light
Psalm 56 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me;
Fighting all day long he oppresses me.
2 My foes have trampled upon me all day long,
For they are many who fight proudly against me.
3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.
4 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?
5 All day long they distort my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They attack, they lurk,
They watch my steps,
As they have waited to take my life.
7 Because of wickedness, cast them forth,
In anger put down the peoples, O God!
8 You have taken account of
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?
9 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?
12 Your vows are binding upon me, O God;
I will render thank offerings to You.
13 For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling,
So that I may walk before God
In the light of the living.
The psalmist says: When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. 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? He then answers the question, stating some of the things they have done. All day long they distort my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil. They attack, they lurk, They watch my steps, As they have waited to take my life. It is one thing to minimize the twisting of words, even plans of evil, but the psalmist is not even concerned that they would take his life. In Psalm 23:4 he says: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. That is the key to the psalmist’s lack of fear in what mere men can do. When he is, when we are, with the Lord death is just a shadow. It has no substance or no permanence. John 3:16 says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Eternal life means that even death has no power over us. Death is the worst “mere men” can do to us. In Philippians 1:20-21 Paul says: Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If we, like Paul and like the psalmist will determine to live for the Lord, we will have nothing to fear from the hands or the plans of men.
The psalmist continues: You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book? In Psalm 139 the psalmist says: O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways…You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. God Himself says: For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) The psalmist continues: Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, In the Lord, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? In Romans 8:31-39 Paul says: If God is for us, who is against us? 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? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. No one; no thing, nothing can separate us from the love of God when we are in Christ. Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We will have difficulties, but regardless of what may come against us, nothing can separate us from the love of God and the overcoming power of the cross of Christ.
The psalmist concludes: Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. For You have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God In the light of the living. Through Christ we have eternal life and that is the key to the confidence we have that “mere men” can do nothing to us. To live is Christ, to die is gain. Neither death nor life can separate us from God’s love. But like the psalmist, our overcoming through Christ is in this life, not only in eternal life. Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The overcoming life we have in Christ is an abundant life, full of the goodness of God. It is a life filled with: plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope, a life with all that God intends for us. We are not only as the psalmist says, to walk in the light of the living, But Jesus says in Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We are to walk as a light to the living. The best way to overcome our enemies is that they too would glorify God the Father, coming to faith in Christ. Jesus says: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45) Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
O God; I will render thank offerings to You. For You have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, for Your deliverance, for the cross, the demonstration of Your love and the power to overcome everything in this life, that I might walk as light, in the abundance of Your love and grace, for Your glory. Amen.