Faith in the Midst of Fear


The background to this Psalm is based on 1 Samuel 21v10-15, when David escaped from Nob with Goliath’s sword and went straight to Achish, King of Gath (Goliaths home town)!  The Philistines took David at Gath, and David pretends to be insane.  King Achish decides he has enough madmen around and David is able to flee to Adullam.  David was in Philistine territory – alone, desperate and afraid.

This Psalm follows the familiar pattern of the Psalms of lament:
v1-6:  David pours out his problem.
v7-9:  David makes his petition.
v10-13:  David praises God for being able to solve all of his problems.

At this time David was in great danger from his enemies – both the Philistines and Saul’s servants were his enemies. David cries out to God, knowing that divine help is his only help.  God has the power and He will save him from all fears of men. David confidently appeals to the mercy of God.  There is no reliance on what he may or may not deserve – but utter dependence upon the mercy of God.

David does not approach God with uncertainty or build up his prayer gradually to explain his situation. Pouring his tears into God’s bottle, David launches straight into his urgent problem and request.

Follow the pattern of S.T.E.P. Meditation through this golden psalm.

EXAMPLE of S.T.E.P Meditation: 


Copy out the Psalm, one little section at a time.

As an example:
“Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up;”


Write down as many biblical truths you can think of from these words.

As an example:
Humans are less merciful than God Himself.
I rely on God’s mercy.


Meditate on and write down the personal exhortation that is relevant to you today.

As an example:
I remind myself that God’s mercies are sure
How reliant on others’ opinions of me am I?
Am I more reliant on my relationship with God?
While men might just ‘swallow me up’, God will be merciful to those who call on His name.


Start to compose your prayer based on your meditations.

As an example:
Ask God to be merciful “unto me a sinner”.
Ask God to help you to put your soul/wellbeing into His hands and not the hands of men.

Continue to walk in these “S.T.E.P.S” through Psalm 56, composing your prayer as you go.  This can take as much time as you need – depending on your life situation.  The important part is that we spend the time sitting quietly in the presence of our God and coming to know the voice of His word.

When you have finished your S.T.E.P. Meditation for all the verses of Psalm 56, read through each prayer section in succession as a prayer offering to Yahweh, the Most High.

Further Suggestions: 

  • Consider having a spiritual friend – who you can do this together with – perhaps not at the same time in the same place but to provide accountability and encouragement.
  • Consider sharing your prayer with God in the presence of your faithful friend.
  • Copy the Psalm and keep it in a place that you can see during your day.
  • Write out your prayer in a prayer journal so that you go back over and pray those words again.

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