Although we do not have the exact context of this psalm it is generally considered as having been written by David while he was fleeing from Saul. This psalm shows David’s struggles in a wicked culture filled with ungodly people.
The psalm begins with David turning to the Lord for help. This is the whole point of this psalm. Where do you turn when things go bad? Where do you turn when you are struggling? David here begins by turning to the Lord. Notice that his focus is on God, not his trials.
No righteous people
As David has run from Saul it appears that he meets no one along the way who is godly. Saul, Doeg, Nabal, the people of Ziph, etc. all turn out to be false and his enemies, even though he did not expect it at the time. We live in a very similar time. Godly people are few and far between.
It is not that everyone is openly evil; no, they are backstabbing liars. They speak nicely to David’s face, and then they betray him. The Hebrew for “double heart” is literally “a heart and a heart,” meaning they are one way when David is there and another way when he is not. Everything they say to his face they then deny as soon as he is gone. We, too, can relate to this today. It is hard to tell friend from foe. It is difficult to know who is lying to you and who is telling you the truth. At times it seems as if everyone in this world is two-faced.
David has cried out to God in the midst of these trials because he know the truth; God will prevail over the wicked. The truth will come out in the end. God will bring an end to the lies, deception, and hypocrisy.
Relying on our wits
David knows that these wicked men rely on their quick wits to avoid trouble. They are very smooth with their tongues and believe they can avoid justice by their ability to talk their way out of it. David knows that this will not fly with God. He knows that God sees through their lies and deception. We need to be very careful that we rely on the Lord and not our flesh. It is easy to think that our wisdom or abilities will deliver us.
David knows that God will come through for His people. He will arise and deliver them. It is very interesting to note how God describes His people. He calls them the oppressed poor and the needy. Herein is the Gospel. God saves those who cannot save themselves. Jesus did not come for the righteous; He came for sinners. God gives grace to the humble and resists the proud.
David now contrasts what God has said with those who have lied to him. He knows that God’s words are pure and perfect. He can completely rely on them. God is not two-faced; God will keep His promises. This is why David is seeking the Lord for help; he can rely on God alone.
Trials will continue
David realizes though that even with God’s help the trials will continue. He will face a wicked culture with wicked rulers throughout his life. He will literally be surrounded by evil men. However, in all of this, David knows that God will preserve him and bring him through.
It is easy to see ourselves as the righteous in this passage and not accurately assess ourselves. Do you rely on your quick wit or your clever tongue to get out of problems? Are you two-faced? Are you completely honest with people? Do you say the same thing to people’s faces that you say behind their back? If this passage condemns you, then you need to cry out to God for help as David does here. You need to see your need of a Deliverer and trust in Jesus Christ.
As a believer you will live the entirety of your life in a world surrounded by wicked men. Are you looking to God for help or some other source? If we analyzed your thoughts, prayers, etc. would we conclude that you are trusting in God for deliverance? Are there idols in your life that you are looking to other than God? Will you repent and trust God for His help?
Are you depending on God and His Word? Does your life show a firm belief in the perfections of God’s Commands and Promises? Will you trust Him through your trials and struggles?