Psalm 56

Be merciful to me, my God,
    for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
    all day long they press their attack.
My adversaries pursue me all day long;
    in their pride many are attacking me.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise –
in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?

All day long they twist my words;
    all their schemes are for my ruin.
They conspire, they lurk,
    they watch my steps,
    hoping to take my life.
Because of their wickedness do not let them escape;
    in your anger, God, bring the nations down.

Record my misery;
    list my tears on your scroll –
    are they not in your record?
Then my enemies will turn back
    when I call for help.
    By this I will know that God is for me.

10 In God, whose word I praise,
    in the Lord, whose word I praise –
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
    What can man do to me?

12 I am under vows to you, my God;
    I will present my thank-offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
    and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life.


What can man do to me? I find that the things of this world all too often take front and centre in my field of vision. I find myself getting stressed or anxious about a situation, upset or hurt about a conversation or overly concerned about something that I know to be outside of my remit (and control). And whenever those things loom large, I know that they hide Jesus.

It’s a given that we will have suffering in this life – whether physical or emotional – it’s a result of the fallen state of humanity, so maybe how we respond in the suffering is key. Jesus once met a man, paralysed yet suspended in front of him through a hole in the roof. “Hey!” says Jesus, “Take heart, your sins are forgiven!” Everyone thinks Jesus has lost the plot – missed the point: this guy doesn’t need forgiven – he needs healed… Except that everyone’s wrong. Jesus knows what he really needs. No one else can see it – they’re too busy having their field of vision filled with the fact that this guy can’t walk.

Jesus is more concerned about where he’s going to spend eternity. Because once you’ve got that sussed, (as I heard a friend say yesterday) your biggest problem has been dealt with. The apostle Paul knew this only too well: “…whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13) Our psalmist today is in a tight spot, yet he realises the truth that, despite his circumstances, God can be trusted and that ultimately, that’s the most important thing.

Questions for thought and discussion:

  • Where do you need to refocus your attention onto Jesus, this week?
  • How can we help our young people to really understand that their need for forgiveness is crucial?