Great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 57:10
In 1917, Frederick Lehman, a California businessman beset by financial setbacks, wrote the lyrics to the hymn, “The Love of God.” His inspiration led him quickly to pen the first two stanzas, but he got stuck on the third. He recalled a poem that had been discovered years earlier, written on the walls of a prison. A prisoner had scratched it there into the stone, expressing a deep awareness of God’s love. The poem happened to be in the same meter as Lehman’s hymn. He made it his third stanza.
There are times when we face difficult setbacks as did Lehman and the poet in the prison cell. In times of despair, we do well to echo the psalmist David’s words and “take refuge in the shadow of [God’s] wings” (Psalm 57:1). It’s okay to “cry out to God” with our troubles (v. 2), to speak to Him of our current ordeal and the fears we have when “in the midst of lions” (v. 4). We’re soon reminded of the reality of God’s provision in times past, and join David who says, “I will sing and make music. . . . I will awaken the dawn” (vv. 7–8).
“The love of God is greater far,” this hymn proclaims, adding “it goes beyond the highest star.” It’s precisely in our time of greatest need when we’re to embrace how great God’s love really is—indeed “reaching to the heavens” (v. 10).
What are the difficulties you face today? How has God provided for you in times past?
Loving God, I am facing difficult matters, but I am reminded of Your love for me and Your provision throughout my life. Thank You.
The scribal heading to this psalm connects the prayer with David’s experience hiding from Saul in a cave, something that happened two different times—first in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1–2) and later in a cave in the desert of En Gedi (24:1–13). The dominant tone of Psalm 57 is one of deep trust, even though it’s set in a context of great danger (v. 6). This trust is rooted in the psalmist’s belief in the power of “God Most High” (v. 2). The title “God Most High” points to God’s glory and rule over all the nations and peoples of the world (47:2). Being anchored in His glory and confident that He’ll act (57:3) allows the psalmist to find refuge in Him and to even rejoice in the midst of danger (vv. 7–8).