Psalm 57: 6 (My enemies) set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down. They dug a pit in my path, but they have fallen into it themselves. 7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make melody. 8 Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn.
David continues this psalm asking for God to deliver him from his enemies (v.6). There’s bound to be some stress in that situation. I’d be tempted to hunker down and work with my advisors to plot some kind of military or political response to the threat. Then, once we’d gotten that stuff figured out, I would perhaps think to worship the Lord. I’m not proud of that, but that’s closer to the truth than I’d like. David takes a different approach.
He says that his heart is “steadfast”. In other words, his heart is unwavering in its focus upon God, not upon the problem at hand. David will sing praises to the Lord first, then maybe get with his advisers later. Why? Because David knows it is God who will deliver him from his enemies, not his advisers or the plans they will make.
Then David starts to speak to his inner self, his soul. “Awake my soul!” Despite being sinful and broken like everyone else, David genuinely loved the Lord, having been described as a “man after God’s own heart”. But David is also human. Even in the midst of great faith there may be an element of fear and anxiety present. And so he speaks to his soul. “Snap out of it! Stop with the long face! Remember to whom we belong – to God Almighty!” It’s sort of a mind over heart situation.
And so, in that spirit, David endeavors to worship with musical instruments. “Awake, O harp and lyre!” Now he’s speaking to inanimate objects that will come alive as his fingers move the strings. David was a musician. I’m a musician, a wanna-be guitar player. I never could get my right and left hands working closely enough to play lead guitar stuff, but I’m a pretty good rhythm guitar player. There is something about playing an instrument and singing that speaks to my soul especially as a means of worship.
Finally there is “I will awake the dawn.” There are a couple of ways to think about this last sentence. It could be that David has spent the night in prayer and will usher in the morning with worship and song. There’s a sense that David’s music-making will stir the heavens, calling forth the sun from behind the earth.
Another way to think about this is more metaphorical. David’s circumstances constitute a time of darkness. As David plays, sings, and worships the Lord, the hand of God will move and usher in David’s salvation. The darkness of fear will subside and the light of hope will be restored. Like the break of dawn.
However one chooses to understand this passage it’s clear that David is a man of worship. His heart seeks the Lord in good times and bad. I want to be that kind of person. I want to be one who seeks the Lord first and everything else second. I have a long way to go.
Heavenly Father, grant me grace to seek after you like David did. Amen.