This Psalm contains the theme verse for the entire book of Psalms: "I will cry unto God most high, unto God that performs all things for me." This verse not only shows the urgent need of David indicated by the word 'cry', but, he also realized that God was indeed the Sovereign Ruler of the universe shown by His title 'most high' which gives Him the exalted position of Commander in Chief of the heavenly host:
"And He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" (Daniel 4:35) Additionally, David underscores the fact that the most high God was responsible for accomplishing each and every action necessary for his existence.
This, in a nutshell, comprises the theme of the Psalms, the worship-book of the Old Testament. By David's complete and unwavering reliance upon the LORD for his each and every need, demonstrated by his 'crying' out to God throughout the Psalms, we learn the inner workings of his heart and thereby witness the grand and glorious art of worship in action!
There are over 400 faith-exhibiting appeals, requests, and downright direct commands made to the LORD in this the longest and most intimate of all the books of the Bible. Soaking up the message of the Psalms will cause the believer to rely on the Lord and worship Him as the Sovereign Ruler of the universe as this theme verse declares.
But, lest we fail to realize the full impact of this entire Psalm, let us look at the verse that precedes this theme verse: "Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusts in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast."
This earnest plea from David for God's mercy is emphasized by the repetition he used to show his dire need and the definite urgency for God's intervention. He underscores his faith as the basis for his plea when he follows with 'for my soul trusts in Thee'. He continues his appeal as though God had already delivered his request, counting upon 'the shadow of Thy wings' for shelter until the storm of calamity was gone.
The 'theme verse' in context also shows David's confident expectation of God's timely response to his appeal for mercy with (v.3) "He shall send from heaven and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah" He realizes God's heavenly authority to deliver him from this physical manifestation of a deep-rooted spiritual enemy for "'We wrestle not with flesh and blood". (Ephesians 6:12)
David's vivid description: "My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." (v.4) demonstrates his understanding of just who is behind the attack upon his soul as "The devil is as a roaring lion, who walks about seeking whom he may devour." (I Peter 5:8)
He calls for the maximum exaltation of God: "Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, let Thy glory be above all the earth" fully realizing the conflict he is in the midst of can only be won through God's miraculous intervention. This verse divides the Psalm as it is repeated at the conclusion of the second half.
After describing his enemies, he unfolds their activity in (v.6) "They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah." The trap they have laid for him is typical of what was and still is used to subdue a large animal, but the LORD turns the tables and David's confused enemies fall victim to their own wicked devices.
The worshipful chorus of praise, with singing and instruments demonstrates the reason David is called 'The Sweet Psalmist of Israel' as he immediately engages in a full and complete demonstration of worship to his God for His miraculous deliverance:
This song of praise is thorough beginning with his declaration of his heart's decisive and steadfast conviction. The call for an awakening of the instruments, and his own early rising shows the importance of what he is promising to accomplish for the Lord. He pledges to praise the Lord 'among the people' and 'among the nations' covering Jew and Gentile alike, emphasizing the universal nature of his testimony of worship before all men.
Then, he concludes with a direct address to God ascribing heavenly heights to the greatness of His mercy and truth, this 'Dynamic Duo' that David utilizes repeatedly in the Psalms. And, finally, for the second time, he calls for the maximum exaltation of his God 'above the heavens...above all the earth' bringing a mighty crescendo to this brief but intensively worshipful Psalm of David.
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