“Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until destruction passes by.” Psalm 57:1
Fear, anger, and anxiety are in abundant supply these days. Consequently, we look for places that offer a measure of peace and protection. But external pressures will continually affect us if we don’t have internal peace. David wrote this psalm while on the run, fleeing from King Saul. Although he was physically hiding in a cave, David knew that his true source of peace and protection was his gracious and merciful God.
In asking God to be gracious, David was asking Him to act according to His nature. God is gracious. He shows favor and compassion, not because we deserve it, but because our circumstances call for resources we don’t have. The Lord invites us to pray as David prayed—to confidently approach Him through the path of grace. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
The next aspect of David’s prayer is packed with meaning. His statement, “my soul takes refuge in You,” is actually a petition in the form of a declaration. The soul is the seat of our thoughts, emotions, and will. So by declaring that God was the guardian of his soul, David was asking the Lord to fortify his thinking, his feelings, and his resolve. When we turn to God as our source of peace and protection, He internally strengthens us to handle external pressures.
But also notice that David was asking for the protection of feathers while hiding in a rock covered cave—“in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge.” The cave offered physical protection from Saul and his army, but David’s inner man also needed refuge. The shelter of God’s wings offered something that no earthly fortress could…true peace.
What external pressures cause you to panic or feel frantic? Where do you run for shelter? Have you nestled into God’s feathers, or are you only seeking shelter in earthly sources? God’s wings are a durable and dependable place of refuge for your soul. Take your anxious thoughts and spiraling emotions to Him. As our gracious Guardian, He is our source of peace and protection.