Sometimes I hole myself up. Withdrawing and hiding from those who might hurt me or might not “get” me comes all too easily. In fact, without even knowing it, I can immerse myself in activities, ministries, and to-do lists so that I never have to get past the surface. Because busyness can be a hiding place, too.
Chances are you, too, find that hiding is easy – especially when circumstances threaten to swallow you whole.
That’s one reason I love the Bible so much. Because no other book is more honest about the fears and failings of its heroes and heroines. David knew about hiding.
In fact, when he penned this song, the soon-to-be anointed king had holed himself up in a cave. He was hiding from Saul who was pursuing him with the intent to kill. David was running for his life and sought refuge in the safest place he could find.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.” Ps. 57:1-2
But this song gives us a peek into the heart of its author who was, at the time, probably fearful, exhausted, and a little emotional. Yet, David knew his refuge was more than adequate; his true refuge was in the arms (wings) of the Almighty.
I’m sure when David penned this song he called to mind the grand story of the steadfast heart of his great grandfather, Boaz, who granted a foreign widow refuge under his wings (Ruth 2:12). And like his great grandfather, David’s faith in God as his refuge was well founded. Because of the security of his Refuge, David’s heart was steadfast.
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing & give praise.” Ps 57:7
What does a steadfast heart look like?
Even in the face of uncertainty and fear, a steadfast heart:
- Begs for God’s mercy (57:1a).
- Rests in God’s shadow (57:1b).
- Believes God is powerfully at work (57:2). Incidentally, the name ‘God Most High’ only appears here and in Ps. 56. Usually we see Jehovah Elyon or El Elyon, but here it appears as Elohim Elyon, which scholar John Phillips translates as the Creator Most High. The title refers to God as the “supreme ruler or final authority.” We can have a steadfast heart because of the universal sovereignty of our God.
- Believes God will finish his work (57:3a).
- Knows justice will be established (57:3b, 6).
- Rejoices in truth (57:3c).
- Interprets suffering in light of God’s glory (57:4-6).
- Looks to the future (dawn) with hope and gratitude (57:8).
- Yearns to make God’s glory and mercy known (57:9-11).
A steadfast heart is a joyful heart, resolutely trusting in God to move on their behalf despite circumstances, obstacles, or appearances.
A steadfast heart is a fixed heart, unswayed by circumstances or people. No matter what bumps against you or rattles your chain, you will not be moved or swayed off course. That’s because when you tether yourself to the immovable, unchanging God, you secure yourself to the One who is himself steadfast (Ps. 61:4; 63:7; 91:4). And when suffering comes, you can face it with a steadfast heart informed by eternal eyes.
Dear Heavenly Father, I believe your Word when it says you are at work in my life. Even when it seems you aren’t, I will choose to rest in you under the shadow of your wings. Please help me have a steadfast heart that is capable of trusting, resting, believing, rejoicing, and hoping in you and the salvation you have already given me. Because you’ve already done a great work in my life, I know you will be faithful to finish what you’ve started. I need a steadfast heart that waits expectantly for you with the dawn. I love you, Amen.
 John Phillips, Exploring the Psalms, 453.