Spirit Songs

Let Psalm 57 stand on its own, and it’s an amazing song. Put it in its context, and it is almost unbelievable.

Praise songs most often stem from prosperous times. God’s goodness most often the theme of a song when things are good. But not this song. It’s singing amidst the storm. A song lifted up when the soul was bowed down. A chorus from the cave.

And while I know that it was inspired by the Spirit of God, this morning what hits me is the manner in which the song reveals the Spirit’s active agency with an individual without even a mention of Him.

It’s a song of David “when he fled from Saul, in the cave.” David is cornered in a cave because the king is out to get him. What’s more, he’s holed up in a tunnel though God’s promised him a throne.

As he sits hiding in the dark he assesses the situation. He is in “storms of darkness.” He is “in the midst of lions” and “lying down amid fiery beasts” whose “teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.” Situation desperate.

But while in that desperate situation he breaks forth with a surprising song.

My heart is steadfast, O God,
   my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
   I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
   Your faithfulness to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
   Let Your glory be over all the earth!

(Psalm 57:7-11 ESV)

How does someone in such a situation come up with such a song if not by the Spirit of God?

Naturally, how would someone forced to hide in a hole sing of steadfast love that is greater than the heavens? How does someone, fleeing for their life, declare faithfulness that reaches to the clouds, if not as a result of a direct encounter of the divine kind?

Read the psalm and it’s evidence of how a gracious God can answer a desperate prayer without the circumstances changing one iota. He ministers to the bowed down soul with His own presence as made known by His Holy Spirit. He gives strength for the day through the One Jesus calls “the Helper” (Jn. 16:7). He brings to remembrance the assurance of promise and infuses hope through Him sent to lead God’s people into all truth (Jn. 14:26). And He supplants the lament of uncertainty with a song of praise penned by the blessed member of the Trinity tasked with making known the Savior (Jn. 15:26).

It’s nothing less than the Spirit of God bearing witness with our spirit which enables us to offer sacrifices of praise from the depths of the cave. Nothing less than a visitation of heaven when we sing amidst our sorrow . . . when we awake the dawn with thanksgiving though the storm continues to rage around us.

Praise God for Spirit songs. Melodies and lyrics which transcend situations because they are composed by God Himself. Symphonies of worship conducted by the Spirit Himself who “helps us in our weakness” (Rom. 8:26).

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
   Let Your glory be over all the earth!

By His grace. For His glory.

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