This psalm was written by David when he was hiding from Saul in a cave, although whether it cannot be deduced whether it was the cave of Adullam (1 Sam. 22) or the cave at Engedi (1 Sam. 24). As we think about the psalm, three details stand out.
First, there is David’s concept of his God (vv. 1-3). God is his protector, as illustrated in the beautiful illustration of the Lord as a mother bird taking care of her young. David’s faith grasped that his current situation was temporary, even if he did not know how long it would be. It is interesting that Boaz uses the same imagery when he spoke to Ruth, David’s great-grandmother: ‘The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!’ (Ruth 2:12).
David may have been thinking of the description of God’s help to Israel when they were under threat from enemies: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself’ (Exod. 19:4). This is an image of supernatural help. Or David may have been referring to the wings of the cherubim above the mercy seat where the atonement was made. If that is what David meant, then his safety is in a reconciled God.
God also has a purpose for David’s life, although we should note that David’s awareness of this fact did not cause him to be unconcerned about his circumstances; instead it led him to pray. Further God deals with David in pity; divine mercy was the motive for David’s deliverance. Therefore, despite his enemies having confidence in his destruction, he was safe.
Second, there is David’s contempt for his enemies (vv. 4-6). They are fierce, as seen in his description of them as lions. It is their words that he refers to, probably their threatenings. But the Lord came to his rescue and they fell into the trap they had prepared for him. God was working in providence on David’s behalf.
Third, there is David’s confidence about his future (vv. 7-11). Experiencing the Lord’s deliverance from his enemies has helped him develop a united heart in which doubt about his future has been removed. This does not mean that all his difficulties were past, but he now had the confidence in God that enabled him to proceed through them. He resolved to give to God the first hours of the day.
Again David is grateful to the Lord for his mercy in rescuing and protecting him and he realises that the Lord will be true to his covenant promise made to David when Samuel anointed him.
Further he anticipated the day when he would conquer other nations on behalf of God and sing to the Lord in these places. In this he anticipated the Lord Jesus who today sings among the nations the glorious gospel of grace.