Together in Christ: 'Trust in the Face of Attack' — Psalm 56:1-4

Thursday, April 18, 2024

O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

— Psalm 56:1-4 NLT

Key Thought

Very few followers of Jesus make it through life without being unfairly attacked, ridiculed, hounded, slandered, or abused. Jesus warned us that since people did these things to Him, our Savior and Lord, they would do them to us also. [1] The apostles were unfairly treated, and yet they considered it an honor to be persecuted as Jesus had been. [2] Paul warned his trainee, Timothy, that the godly would go through hardship and abuse. [3] So, what do we do? What can we learn from David as he faced a dangerous and difficult time at the hands of the Philistines? [4]

David placed his faith in God. He proclaimed that he trusted in God. By faith, David declared that God was always with him and would not abandon him. [5] He openly shared his problems with God in prayer and song. He refused to fear because he trusted the Lord, the Eternal One. At the same time, David begged God to have mercy on him in his time of distress. David also reminded himself that the Lord, the Eternal, was God, and those who opposed him were mere mortals. All of this [6] allowed David — and if we follow his lead, will allow us — to stand in the face of great opposition, attack, ridicule, unfairness, and slander.

This confidence that David had in God led him to finish the psalm that gives us our verses today with these words of assurance and confidence in deliverance:

For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light. [7]

David's confidence anticipated the declaration of the apostle Paul when he was under threat and persecution:

We now have this light shining in our hearts [the light from the glory of God shown through Jesus], but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. [8]

[1] John 15:20-21.
[2] Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 4:16; Matthew 5:11-12.
[3] 2 Timothy 2:12, 3:12.
[4] 2 Samuel 21:12-22, 22:1.
[5] See Paul say a similar thing about us in Romans 8:32-39.
[6] 75 psalms are attributed to David. We can learn much about his faith from these psalms as David shares his circumstances, faith, fear, trust, emotions, and attitudes. The compilation of this paragraph in our Key Thought section above comes largely from the psalms of David and how they reveal his inner faith, dealing with fear, facing enemies, and confessing sin.
[7] Psalm 56:13.
[8] 2 Corinthians 4:7-10. See also, 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.

Today's Prayer

Almighty God, I trust in You. You alone can deliver me from those who oppose, attack, and belittle me. I have trusted You because I have seen Your faithfulness to Your promises and Your people. When I begin to be afraid, I pour my heart out to You and remember that You are God, the Eternal One, and those seeking to wound and destroy me are mere mortals. So, dear Father, please deliver me, for I trust You! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 2 Samuel 21:1-22, 22:1; Hebrews 13:5-6
  • Psalm 46:1-11

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Illustration

Illustration of Psalm 56:1-4 NLT — O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.