While we do not know for sure when David wrote it, this song of trust in God may have happened during David's time in Gath in 1 Samuel 21:10 and is paired with Psalm 34, but he was in Gath two times and the psalm says he was "seized" by the Philistines while there. There is no Biblical record of a seizing, but some believe that the assault would have happened during the stay in 1 Samuel 27:7-12 because David lied to the king's generals, and this would have given them cause to seize him. The continued mistrust of the Philistines is evident in 1 Samuel 29 when the commanders have the king send David back from fighting against the Israelites and Saul. This is the reason why I put this after 1 Samuel 27.
Also, just a reminder that Gath was the hometown of the deceased Goliath. No wonder David had reason to fear man!
David trusted confidently in the Lord even though he was hotly pursued. He could put his trust in God when he was afraid of man. God knew his sufferings, and David knew that God would deliver him.
Most of us are not "hotly pursued by men" (This was a little giggle of a verse for me and my single friends many years ago. I am Instant Messaging with a friend from that era right now, and we are giggling. No men were "hotly pursuing" us! But I digress . . . )
As I said before I interrupted myself, most of us do not have the problem of being chased by our enemies, but the essence of this Psalm has been such balm to my tired and fearful soul over the years.
When I am afraid,I will trust in You.In God, whose word I praise,In God I have put my trust;I shall not be afraid.What can mere man do to me? (56:3-4)
You have taken account of my wanderings;Put my tears in Your bottle.Are they not in Your book?Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;This I know because God is for me.In God, whose word I praise --What can man do to me? (56:8-11)David was focused like a laser on God. God was the object of His trust. Men faded in the light of God's dazzling presence. Note how many times David says, "In God" in this psalm.
I have had a lot of fear of people over the years. I have shed a lot of tears over it, and that bottle of God's must be a big one for me. But I wake up on this beautiful summer day at 50+ years old realizing that I am not afraid of man anymore. I have history with this Psalm, but my present day reality is that God has proven again and again that He is for me (See Romans 8:31-39 for more on this), and I can rest in that. We all can.
The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted. (Proverbs 29:25)
Who do you fear?
Who do you trust?
Talk to God about it. Meditate and pray through this Psalm. Pour your heart out if you need to.
Do something to remind yourself that God is for you. Tape pennies with the "In God we trust" side showing in strategic places around your home. My girlfriend has a real fear of people and has a ring on her finger that says, "Fear not." I love that.
He really is for you. You can trust in Him. Keep talking to Him as you pray through this psalm.