Finding courage and strength through songs of praise became a living reality to me during a time when I felt emotionally and physically depleted. I filled my home with worship music during those difficult days, but I also basked in the beauty of worship songs sung in church every Sunday morning. The sound of six hundred voices singing praises lifted my spirits. I’d worn weariness like a cloak, but songs of praise made that cloak fall away.
David found courage and strength through songs of praise in desperate times, too.
King Saul’s jealousy toward him had turned public. He was forced to flee for his life when soldiers came to his house to kill him. He cried to God for intervention and to show no mercy to those wanting to end his life. In the middle of that drama, he wrote, “But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.” (Psalm 59:16 ESV)
David faced enemies from without and from within. We sense despair, fear, and perhaps even a touch of panic in his voice. (Psalm 59) But his tone changed when he turned his focus from his enemies to his God. “You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress. In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies,” he wrote. (Psalm 59:9-10)
Considering the circumstances, I suspect David’s emotions didn’t feel like singing a celebratory song. But David refused to let emotions control him. In the midst of a literal life-threatening situation, he declared truth about the character of God, and by doing so, spoke life-giving truth over himself.
The truths David declared in song are timeless.
First, God is powerful. Creation came into being at the sound of His voice. He speaks, and storms are silenced. He commands the dead to rise, and they obey. He heals the leper and makes the blind to see. He split the Red Sea so His people could pass through on dry ground. Nothing is impossible for Almighty God. No circumstances we face are too much for Him to undo or redo.
Second, God is filled with lovingkindness. The same word used in Psalm 18:25 is translated as “faithful.” – “To the faithful you show yourself faithful.” And He does so to the thousandth generation of those who love Him. He reveals His lovingkindness to us through His goodness and mercy that follow us all the days of our lives. He clothes and feeds us, grants us wisdom, gives us direction, disciplines us when needed, and fills us with peace because He is, by nature, love.
Third, God is our refuge. Some Bible versions say He is our stronghold. This implies a retreat where we hide and find shelter from the storm that blows around us. It also suggests a secure height like a cliff or other inaccessible place. The psalmist used the same description in Psalm 62:2—”He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” When the enemy of our soul seeks to ambush us, we find our security in the Lord as our safe place.
When David felt distressed, he looked back at times when he’d experienced the truths he now declared.
That’s a great practice for us to incorporate. When distressing circumstances surround us, let’s adopt his practice. Let’s look back and recall the times we’ve experienced God’s power and lovingkindness and shelter over us. He came to our rescue then, and He’ll do it again because His nature never changes.
The truths about who God is give us every reason to begin and end each day with a song of joy in our heart. We might be surrounded by enemies without and within, but as for us, we will not buckle to fear because God is there for us. He is powerful, filled with lovingkindness, and ready to be our refuge.
Enjoy one of my favorite worship songs — Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham.
Know you are loved,