My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. (Psalm 57:7)
David is on the run, hiding in a cave. The bad guys are described as lions, ravenous beasts with teeth like spears and arrows, and tongues like swords. They hotly pursue David, setting traps for him everywhere he would go. So it’s no wonder that David begins this prayer crying out to God,
Have mercy on me, O God have mercy on me, for in You my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed (v. 1).
As David is prone to do in many of his psalms, he inserts the word Selah, reminding both himself and his readers to pause for a moment. He records how God answers his prayer: “God sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me” (v. 3).
But the Selah comes in the middle of the verse, almost as if David is pausing to ask, “How exactly does God save me?” In this instance, it’s not so much God rebuking the wicked as it is God blessing David. After the Selah pause he says, “God sends forth His love and His faithfulness.”
By blessing His righteous servant David, God rebukes the wicked and vindicates David by creating a longing in those wicked men to also be blessed by God.
In the New Testament we see that the arrival of Jesus was an act of God’s kindness: “Because of and through the heart of tender mercy and loving-kindness of our God, a Light from on high will dawn upon us and visit us” (Luke 1:78). And it is God’s kindness that continues to draw us to Himself: “…Are you unmindful or actually ignorant of the fact that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent—to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will?” (Romans 2:4).
David foresees his enemies falling into the very traps they have set for him (v. 6). And then once again he calls for a Selah pause to consider how God has and is blessing him.
From this point on, David expresses no more thoughts about the wicked people pursuing him, but all of his words through the remainder of this psalm are worship, praise, and exaltation (vv. 7-11).
When evil people are assailing you perhaps you could pray this prayer:
O God, that my heart could be so transformed that I desire Your blessing on my life more than I look for Your judgment or retribution on the wicked! I pray that my heart would be a place of continual praise to You, and not a hotbed of anxious thoughts about wicked people. Father, may Your kindness to me be such a powerful testimony to even evildoers, that they will repent—change their mind to accept You as their God too. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.