Ezekiel 15 & Psalm 56-57

Ezekiel 15

    And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest? Is wood taken from it to make anything? Do people take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it? Behold, it is given to the fire for fuel. When the fire has consumed both ends of it, and the middle of it is charred, is it useful for anything? Behold, when it was whole, it was used for nothing. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it ever be used for anything! Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will set my face against them. Though they escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, and you will know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them. And I will make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly, declares the Lord GOD.”

(Ezekiel 15 ESV)

Psalm 56

To the choirmaster: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. A Miktam of David, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

    Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
        all day long an attacker oppresses me;
    my enemies trample on me all day long,
        for many attack me proudly.
    When I am afraid,
        I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise,
        in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
        What can flesh do to me?
    All day long they injure my cause;
        all their thoughts are against me for evil.
    They stir up strife, they lurk;
        they watch my steps,
        as they have waited for my life.
    For their crime will they escape?
        In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
    You have kept count of my tossings;
        put my tears in your bottle.
        Are they not in your book?
    Then my enemies will turn back
        in the day when I call.
        This I know, that God is for me.
    In God, whose word I praise,
        in the LORD, whose word I praise,
    in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
        What can man do to me?
    I must perform my vows to you, O God;
        I will render thank offerings to you.
    For you have delivered my soul from death,
        yes, my feet from falling,
    that I may walk before God
        in the light of life.

(Psalm 56 ESV)

Psalm 57

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.

    Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
        for in you my soul takes refuge;
    in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
        till the storms of destruction pass by.
    I cry out to God Most High,
        to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
    He will send from heaven and save me;
        he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
    God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
    My soul is in the midst of lions;
        I lie down amid fiery beasts—
    the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
        whose tongues are sharp swords.
    Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
        Let your glory be over all the earth!
    They set a net for my steps;
        my soul was bowed down.
    They dug a pit in my way,
        but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
    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 ESV)

The following is taken from D.A. Carson's For the Love of God series...


THE SUPERSCRIPTION OF Psalm 57 specifies that this psalm was written when David “had fled from Saul into the cave” (cf. 1 Sam. 22:1; 24:3). What we find, then, is something of the emotional and spiritual tone of the man when he could say, in effect, that “there is only a step between me and death” (1 Sam. 20:3). Some reflections:

(1) Even as he cries for mercy, David expresses his confidence in God’s sov- ereign power. The language is stunning: “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me” (57:2). The title “God Most High” is not very com- mon in the Psalms. Perhaps David is thinking of another man without a home, Abraham, who was more familiar with this way of addressing God. Certainly David does not think that somehow circumstances have slipped away from such a God. He begs for mercy, but he recognizes that God, the powerful God, fulfills his purposes in him. This mixture of humble pleading and quiet trust in God’s sovereign power recurs in Scripture again and again. Nowhere does it reach a higher plane than in the prayer of the Lord Jesus in the garden: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). In some measure or another, every follower of Jesus Christ will want to learn the anguish and the joy of that sort of praying.

(2) The refrain in 57:5 and 11—“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth”—finds David not only in reverent worship, but affirming something believers easily forget, not least when they are under duress. Perhaps the clearest New Testament equivalent lies in the prayer the Lord Jesus taught us: “[H]allowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9). Here David meditates not on God’s sovereign power, but on God’s sovereign importance. More important, for David, than whether or not he gets out of the cave, is that God be exalted above the heavens. The passionate prayer that willingly submerges urgent personal interests to God’s glory breeds both joy and stability: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music” (57:7).

(3) Rather striking is David’s glance at the orbit where he intends to bear wit- ness: “I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies” (57:9-10). No truncated vision, this. And today as countless millions sing these words, David’s vow has been fulfilled far more extensively than even he could have imagined.