What does it say?
Psalm 56 corresponds to 1Sam 21:10-15 as David flees from Saul to Gath. David is greatly afraid but puts his trust in God.
In Psalm 120 the psalmist deals with lies and slander. Verse 5 is a poetic way to say that he is among non-believers.
Psalms 140 is a prayer to be delivered from evil people and corresponds to 1Sam 21-22. Psalm 141 makes for a great follow up to the previous psalm as the psalmist prays that he might not be guilty of the very things that he condemns in others. Psalm 142 comes from David’s experiences running from Saul in 1Sam 23. He makes God his refuge and rests in the fact that God knows all about him.
What does it mean?
Being able to tag these psalms to historical events in David’s life should help us not only better understand what the scripture says, but also better comprehend its meaning. These psalms show us the importance of praying what is really going on inside us and not just praying things we think sound good, are supposed to pray or have heard others pray.
David’s transparence is striking. Those of us who are Western Christians should remember that psalms were written to be sung in community. They were not intensely private and intended only for one’s self. They spring from intensely personal moments, and this is how people shared those moments in community. There was no printing; no one curled up in a corner and privately read the Psalms. Psalms burned into hearts as they were repeatedly sung in community settings.
How will I respond?
Is there one of these Psalms that particularly resonates with me? I will make a short list of bullet points of what I have learned from this psalm that needs to speak into my prayer life.
Who are the safe people in my life with whom I feel free to share my “psalms moments?” In the West we tend to be so private that we miss the power and healing of community and limit our sharing to purely intellectual content. What can I do to be able to grow in transparency with the safe people in my life?