David’s experiences and the psalms that came from them teach us at least two things. First, they illustrate that the trials in this world are unrelenting. But second, they teach us that there is hope in the Lord in every situation, for He is our fortress and refuge.
The Hiding Place
Corrie ten Boom was the first woman to be licensed in the Netherlands as a watchmaker. She worked with her father, Casper, in the family watchmaking business, and it was quite successful. Corrie and her family were committed followers of Christ, and when Adolph Hitler’s troops invaded the Netherlands, this family began hiding Jewish neighbors to keep them from being sent to the concentration camps.
They built a secret room—a closet really—in which Jews who were staying in their home could hide whenever the home was searched by the Gestapo. I have visited this home and have seen this little secret room that became known as “The Hiding Place.” Around 800 Jewish people of all ages were saved by the efforts of Corrie and her family.
Eventually, an informant told on them, and Corrie, her sister Betsie, and their father Casper were sent to prison. Casper died two weeks later. Corrie and her sister eventually were sent to a concentration camp where Betsie would later die. Before she died, she whispered to Corrie, “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.”
Eventually, Corrie was released. But because of her personal experiences in that pit—those dark days of suffering and deprivation—she had the opportunity to travel the world, some sixty countries in all, giving her testimony of God’s faithfulness and forgiveness and telling people about the Hiding Place.
In Psalm 57, you have the testimony of David, who could say, “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.” Only David’s pit was a dark, dismal cave, where he would write Psalm 57:1: “In you [God] my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge.” To put it another way, David is saying, “You, Lord, are my hiding place.”
Now the heading, or superscription, of Psalm 57, reads, “A Miktam [that is, is a teaching testimonial] of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.” I believe this relates to events recorded in detail in 1 Samuel 24.
David is hiding out in a cave, located in the wilderness region of Engedi, seeking to escape from King Saul, who is trying to find him and kill him. This is a hilly region dotted with limestone caves. Shepherds would use these caves to corral their sheep at night.
King Saul arrives with 3,000 of his soldiers and literally ends up at the same cave where David and his men are hiding deep inside. Saul is unaware of this.
First Samuel 24 and verse 3 reads, “And [Saul] came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself.” The Bible records here, in almost a humorous manner, that Saul has to go to the bathroom and he chooses this very cave. Now you might wonder why God would record such a detail as this, but I believe it is to show us how absolutely vulnerable Saul is at this moment.
All these soldiers are standing around, waiting outside the cave; Saul is inside the cave, taking his time, maybe reading the newspaper. This is David’s chance. What an opportunity to end Saul’s life.
But David refuses to lift his hand against God’s anointed. He is willing to wait for God to deliver him in due time.
Here in Psalm 57:2, he pours out his heart and writes, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Remember David is trusting the Lord to fulfill His divine purpose for his life, and that is not easy to do when you’re in a cave.
Now here in Psalm 58, David admits to his frustration over the injustice of the world around him. Now that is easy to do when you are living in a cave, experiencing unfair treatment, and suffering from the unkindness of people in your world.
Maybe you’re there right now; you’re suffering an unkindness; maybe you have a chance to end it, but you will not do it because it’s not right.
And David calls on God here to bring judgment on those who defy God. This is what we call an imprecatory psalm. David is praying an imprecatory prayer. You don’t need to know how to spell that for the final exam, but this is a prayer calling down the judgment of God on sinners.
And somebody reading this psalm might think this is not a nice thing to pray. But beloved, this is the other side of God that the world wants nothing of. They want a God who is loving and merciful but without justice and holiness. They want the God they have created, who is anything but a judge.
Why? Because a judge renders a verdict. He enforces a standard of right and wrong. The world wants to get rid of that kind of God. If they can rid themselves of a God who is a judge, there is no enforcer of sin. And if there is no enforcer of sin, there is no standard of truth. And if there is no standard of truth, you cannot be judged for doing wrong. So, you can do whatever you think is right for you, no matter what it is.
The problem is, when you eliminate a God who is supreme judge, you also eliminate a God who can offer a pardon for your sin. You see, God’s Son experienced the holy judgment of God for sin. He died to pay the penalty for your sin. When you believe in Him, He can forgive you on the basis of His judgment having been satisfied in the death of Christ.
So, you are safe, eternally safe, from the terror and judgment of God when you run to the Savior in faith—when He becomes your hiding place.
Now we move on to Psalm 59. It seems David just cannot get a break from King Saul. The heading here says, “When Saul sent men to watch [David’s] house in order to kill him.” This is recorded back in 1 Samuel 19, where Saul became so jealous of David’s growing popularity that he sent men to capture him in his own house.
With the help of his wife, Michal, David escaped out a window and ran for his life.
It might have been around a campfire that night that David began writing this song about the pit, the valley, he had just entered.
David describes his enemies as “howling like dogs … prowling about the city. They wander about for food and growl if they do not get their fill” (verses 14-15). To call somebody a dog isn’t all that offensive today. And that’s because dogs in our world live pretty decent lives. They get a bath, eat regular meals, and sometimes have a backyard to play in.
However, in the Old Testament, a dog was a scavenger, a dangerous animal that traveled in packs and would be run out of town rather than invited to stay. David says that his enemies are like a pack of dogs hungry to have him for a meal.
But that is not the only thing David focuses on here in this pit of difficulty. In verse 16 David says:
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.
David could have tossed and turned all night over that pack of dogs chasing after him. But instead, he turns his attention—not to the dark pit, the cave, or life on the run—but to the refuge he has in the Lord.
He ends this psalm by writing, “O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”
That is another way of saying, “There is no pit so deep, that God is not deeper still.”
 See Corrie Ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom (Bantam Books, 1974).