Life-Study of Psalms, by Witness Lee

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In Psalm 57:6 the psalmist rejoiced at the misfortune of his enemies. The psalmist did this even while he was trusting in God and enjoying God in His salvation, lovingkindness, and faithfulness (vv. 1-5, 7-11). On the one hand, he trusted in God and enjoyed Him; on the other hand, he was happy to see that his enemies were suffering.

After reading these psalms, I am troubled that there is no hint here that David learned any lessons from his suffering under the attacks of his enemies. There is no indication that David said, "God, why is Saul persecuting me? Why are certain ones attacking me? Lord, I want to know the reason and learn the lesson."

My point is that David’s prayers in these psalms are altogether different from what is taught in the New Testament. For instance, when Paul was suffering from "a thorn in the flesh" (2 Cor. 12:7), he entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from him (v. 8). Eventually, the Lord said to him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness" (v. 9a). The Lord seemed to be saying to Paul, "I will not take the thorn away, and I will not do anything to reduce your suffering. Without the thorn, you might be lifted up with pride because of the revelations you have received from Me. Also, I will allow the thorn to remain so that you may have the opportunity to learn that My grace is sufficient for you." If David had learned this kind of lesson, he would not have prayed for the Lord to annihilate his enemies.

Many of today’s Christian readers of the Psalms do not have any realization concerning the learning of lessons. Instead, they mainly see two things in these psalms: first, that David was good, that he was faithful and trusted in the Lord; second, that God was good and faithful in hearing David and in answering him. They do not see David’s defects and shortages displayed in each of the psalms covered in this message. David did not learn any lessons or deal with his defects by God’s mercy and grace. Instead, he prayed that his enemy would be plucked up and uprooted from the land of the living.

In our reading of these psalms, we need to receive enlightenment regarding our own situation. No doubt, we should trust in God. Surely He will take care of us according to His lovingkindness and faithfulness. But we also need to learn the lessons of God’s discipline. We need to find out the reason for the oppositions against us in our environment, for they are God’s discipline to correct us, to break us, and to bring us down. We should not pray that God would put others down; we are the ones who need to be brought down and broken by God. We should not have the shortage, displayed in nearly all the psalms, of being devoid of learning the lessons of God’s discipline.

(Life-Study of Psalms, Chapter 24, by Witness Lee)