{To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.}

Psalm 57:1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.

2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.

3 He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

4 My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.

6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.

9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

MEMORY VERSE: Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth. —Psalm 57:11

CENTRAL THOUGHT: As David hid from King Saul in the cave, he meditated upon the marvelous truth that God was a refuge for him; God’s strength preserved him from doing wrong and taking Saul’s life, and He found great strength and hope in praising the Lord.


Psalm 57:1 “Altaschith”: destroy not. Very likely this psalm is the jubilation of David’s soul after he had been in the very cave where Saul was resting, and his allies had urged him to take Saul’s life. He had been restrained by the inward prompting, “Destroy him not! Do God’s anointed no harm!” and now he praised God for keeping him from temptation and titled his song, “Destroy Not.”

Psalm 57:2 “God that performeth all things for me”: “perfects or finishes concerning me.”

Psalm 57:3 “Him that would swallow me up”: a greater foe than Saul was before him: his own vengeance and anger. “Selah”: a musical rest or pause in a song; also, a notice to pause and think quietly about the words. “God shall send forth his mercy and his truth”: God’s Word of truth to the forefathers in Israel had been passed down to David and was now mercifully given to him in his moment of temptation. “Touch not mine anointed!”

Psalm 57:4 “Lions”: figurative of foes; fierce; devouring; Clarke has “my soul dwells in parched places.” “I lie”: I have my abode. “Set on fire”: his own men were “set on fire” of vengeance to harm Saul; Saul was “set on fire” to harm him.

Psalm 57:7 “Fixed”: prepared or established; firm determination. The heart, its thoughts, intents, and affections, are steadfastly resolved.

Psalm 57:8 “My glory”: some understand it to mean “tongue”; others understand David means “my soul,” as the noblest powers of his soul; all that was glorious and honorable within him. “I myself will awake early”: I will awaken the dawn.

Psalm 57:9 “I will sing unto thee among the nations”: a prophetic note in the song, to which Paul refers in Romans 15:9 when he speaks about the Gentiles.


As the title suggests, Psalm 57 was written in praise of the Lord’s deliverance and mercy to David when he was hidden in a cave at Engedi, and Saul was seeking him with an army of three thousand men. The account of this is in I Samuel 24. Engedi “occupies a small area a few hundred feet above the Dead Sea marked by the 650 foot sedimentary terrace.

The limestone borders rise so abruptly to a height of 2,000 feet immediately on the West, that the place can be approached only by a rock-cut path. Two streams descend on either side through precipitous rocky gorges from the uninhabitable wilderness separating it from Bethlehem and Hebron. It was in the caves opening out from the sides of these gorges that David took refuge from Saul” (George Wright in Bible Hub’s Encyclopedia). Adam Clarke quotes a writer who had been inside a cave in that very area, describing it as a place with dry air, into which the local people, several thousand at once, would go. It is called El Maamah, which means hiding place. Narrow passages lead into a large grotto, the top of which rises in several places like domes.

David and his men were already in the cave when Saul entered. A fable was traditionally told by the Jewish rabbis to explain why Saul so confidently entered the cave: a spider had been ordered by God to weave her web over the mouth of it, so when Saul noticed it, he would think no person had been there lately and enter without suspicion. Whether or not that is true, David and his men, hidden in the dark sides and corners of the cavern, observed the king enter and David’s men urged him to take his life. They even came up with something God was supposed to have said to justify the assassination.

No wonder David felt he was among men who were “set on fire.” The temptation was so great. He took his sword, but God’s word stopped him. Instead of putting it through Saul’s heart, he cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe and stayed the hands also of the men set on vengeance. After Saul left the cave, David called out to him, showed him the piece of robe, and entreated him to consider the mercy he had shown to him, calling on God to be judge between them.

Saul seemed to humble his heart, calling David his “son” and pronouncing God’s reward upon him. But David, wisely discerning he couldn’t yet trust him, and knowing Saul was under an evil spirit, remained yet in hiding.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Describe the circumstances around which this song was written.
  2. How did God’s mercy and truth deliver David?
  3. Describe the cave at Engedi.
  4. What does “my heart is fixed” mean to you?
  5. How may the song title explain what happened in this story?


My heart is touched by the way this song praises God, not just for keeping David safe when he came into close contact with King Saul, but for the more important deliverance, in which David made a narrow escape from the strong temptation to take things in his own hands. He came so close to ruining God’s complete plan for his life! He seemed to get a vision of this when he said, “God performs, or perfects, all things for me.” He grasped a concept that seems out of reach from most people—that of the Cause greater than himself. I think Joseph grasped that as well, when he, too, was “set among lions” in Potiphar’s house with Potiphar’s wife.

David also had an understanding of the depth of wickedness under which Saul was bound. We also must have that wisdom as we deal with the wicked people in our acquaintance. David didn’t put himself into God’s place to do away with Saul, but he also kept himself and his family in a place safely away from him.

Oh, to have a heart that is fixed on God and His will for our lives! A vision that elevates the power and mercy of God far above the visible heavens and earth! A resolve that is founded on the ancient, immutable, unchanging commands of Almighty God.

We see in this song a deliverance that runs deeply into the heart and moral fiber of a person. It is God’s will that His redemption cleanses and rescues us just that deeply; and as He wills, so shall He do and accomplish in our lives, if we will resolve to let Him.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


“I know on Whom my faith is fixed, I know in Whom I trust;

I know that Christ abides in me, and all His ways are just.

I know on whom my faith is fixed, His mercy has set me free;

I know that He will safely keep, and His love is sweet to me.”

When I was in service one Wednesday night recently, I was noticing the date this song, “I Know” (#106, Evening Light Songs) was written. I had just read about what was going on in the world in 1919. World War I had just ended and the great world-wide Spanish Flu pandemic was going on. This song was written by Bro. Charles Wesley Naylor during this time, when 500 million people (one-third of the world’s population) became infected with the Spanish flu, from which approximately 50 million died. 675,000 of those deaths occurred in the United States. What we are going through is nowhere near what our forefathers suffered those two years of 1918-19.

I was blessed to realize that the words of this song still proclaimed an encouraging message—that no matter our circumstances or how bad things are, God and His power are alive and well able to inspire a song to encourage His people. “I know in whom my faith is fixed, I know in whom I trust.” To know is to be assured of. Fixed means something is settled and secure. This song is very special to us in 2020 as we have faced a new pandemic. God is still aware of everything going on in our day.

Naylor (1874-1950) was a Church of God minister for 13 years before a tent pole fell on his back during an evangelism campaign in Florida, injuring his spine and kidney. A year later he was in a bus accident that made him an invalid for the next four decades. In addition to 134 hymns, Naylor wrote eight books and many articles, pamphlets, and columns in the Gospel Trumpet.

—Bro James Bell

Click here to hear a group of saints sing, “I Know.”