Praise God In The Midst of Problems

Psalm 57 is introduced as having been written by David while he was hiding from Saul in a cave. Not many of us are capable of imagining what this would feel like, because we are just not where David was.   But we can imagine other challenges of varying magnitudes. We can imagine loneliness and desertion and desperation, even to a small degree. Or perhaps there are other things that we can imagine. Could it be social exclusion at the workplace? Could it be victimization on the job? God forbid, but could it be unfair accusations by a clique in church to which you do not belong? What matters is that we must imagine a time or situation in our lives in which we are very, very uncomfortable, where our very existence feels threatened and where we are isolated.

Before advancing any further, as you read this Psalm, keep an eye open for the ratio of praises on one hand, and problems on the other. I believe that you will find that in the midst of pressing problems, David was more focused on praising God for who He is and for what He has already done, than on complaining about the problems he faced, and of which, in any case, God was fully aware.

But don’t take my word for it… let’s check it out together. Let us identify the Problem, Prayer & Praise sections.

  1. Psalm 57:1 – [Prayer, Praise & Problem}    Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
  2. Psalm 57:2  {Prayer} I cry out to God Most High, to God, who vindicates me.
  3. Psalm 57:3  {Praise} He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me— God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.
  4. Psalm 57:4 {Problem} I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts— men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.
  5. Psalm 57:5 {Praise} Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
  6. Psalm 57:6a {Problem} They spread a net for my feet— I was bowed down in distress. They dug a pit in my path—
  7. Psalm 57:6b {Praise} but they have fallen into it themselves.
  8. Psalm 57:7 {Praise} My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.
  9. Psalm 57:8 {Praise} Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
  10. Psalm 57:9 {Praise} I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
  11. Psalm 57:10 {Praise} For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
  12. Psalm 57:11 {Praise} Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

According to my count, there are nine (9) Praise sections, three (3) Problem sections and two (2) Prayer sections. The overwhelming ratio of Praise & Prayer to Problem (78% to 22%) is in itself instructive.  How do you evolve into praise and worship while in the midst of a problem?  It is easier than you think.

First of all, God never exposes us to a big problem before first exposing us to a smaller problem.  In this way, we always have the assurance that since God has come through for us before, He will come through for us again. Additionally, unlike David, we have the numerous documented examples in the Word of God in which God came through for those who placed their trust in Him. We have the example of David himself. We know by experience and by historic example, that our God is faithful and He will never forsake His own.

David knew who he was. He knew that he had been anointed to be King over Israel. He knew how sacred and unfailing are the promises of God.  He did not know when, and he did not know how, but he knew that his becoming King was a done deal. He could therefore wait in the assurance that all things will work together in such a way that God’s promise over his life would be fulfilled.  Not many of us are as confident about God’s plan for our lives as David was, and quite often God does not reveal to us the end-game of His macro plan for our lives on earth.  But we know that He has good plans for us – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Psalm 57:6 provides an interesting combination of acknowledgement of the problem with recognition of the deliverance from the problem. God’s deliverance is not primarily futuristic. He is a present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). At any moment in time, we can look around us and decide whether we choose to focus on the problems or the privileges that surround us. David consciously chose the privileges and the provisions of God’s blessings.

Finally, among the many other considerations is that our spiritual warfare training teaches us that there is power in praise. For murmuring and complaining, God has no tolerance. It shows our ignorance of His omniscience or lack of appreciation of His omnipotence. The Disciples were guilty of both as their boat was enveloped in the storm (Mark 4:37-41). Not only did Jesus know about their problem, but He also had the solution to their problem. He wants us to praise and worship Him in every situation. When problems arise in our lives, it is never God who is on trial, it is our faith.  And each battle we win will make us stronger and more predisposed for victory in the next. Our murmuring and complaining angers God.  Our praises excite Him. When Paul and Silas began to praise God in the midnight hour while they were shackled in a cold,dirty prison, God got excited. their chains fell off. Prison doors were swung open. They intercepted a suicide and presided over the conversion of an entire household (Acts 16:22-34)

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