|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
56:1-7 Be merciful unto me, O God. This petition includes all the good for which we come to throne of grace. If we obtain mercy there, we need no more to make us happy. It implies likewise our best plea, not our merit, but God's mercy, his free, rich mercy. We may flee to, and trust the mercy of God, when surrounded on all sides by difficulties and dangers. His enemies were too hard for him, if God did not help him. He resolves to make God's promises the matter of his praises, and so we have reason to make them. As we must not trust an arm of flesh when engaged for us, so we must not be afraid of an arm of flesh when stretched out against us. The sin of sinners will never be their security. Who knows the power of God's anger; how high it can reach, how forcibly it can strike?
Verse 3. - What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee; literally, the day when I am afraid. When the day comes that I feel fear stealing over me, by an act of will I (even I, weak as I am) will put my trust in thee (comp. Psalm 7:1; Psalm 11:1; Psalm 18:2, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
What time I am afraid,.... It was a time of fear with him now; he was afraid of Achish king of Gath, 1 Samuel 21:12; so believers have their times of fear; about their interest in the love, and grace, and covenant of God; about their sins and corruptions, and the prevalence of them, fearing they shall perish by them; and about their enemies, who are many, lively, and strong;
I will trust in thee; trust and confidence in the Lord is the best antidote against fears; who is unchangeable in his love, in whom is everlasting strength, and who is faithful and true to every word of promise; and therefore there is great reason to trust in him, and not be afraid.
The Treasury of David
3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
"What time I am afraid." David was no braggart, he does not claim never to be afraid, and he was no brutish Stoic free from fear because of the lack of tenderness. David's intelligence deprived him of the stupid heedlessness of ignorance, he saw the imminence of his peril, and was afraid. We are men, and therefore liable to overthrow; we are feeble, and therefore unable to prevent it; we are sinful men, and therefore deserving it, and for all these reasons we are afraid. But the condition of the Psalmist's mind was complex - he feared, but that fear did not fill the whole area of his mind, for he adds, "I will trust in thee." It is possible, then, for fear and faith to occupy the mind at the same moment. We are strange beings, and our experience in the divine life is stranger still. We are often in a twilight, where light and darkness are both present, and it is hard to tell which predominates. It is a blessed fear which drives us to trust. Unregenerate fear drives from God, gracious fear drives to him. If I fear man I have only to trust God, and I have the best antidote. To trust when there is no cause for fear, is but the name of faith, but to be reliant upon God when occasions for alarm are abundant and pressing, is the conquering faith of God's elect. Though the verse is in the form of a resolve, it became a fact in David's life, let us make it so in ours. Whether the fear arise from without or within, from past, present, or future, from temporals, or spirituals, from men or devils, let us maintain faith, and we shall soon recover courage.
"In God I will praise his word." Faith brings forth praise. He who can trust will soon sing. God's promise, when fulfilled, is a noble subject for praise, and even before fulfilment it should be the theme of song. It is in or through God that we are able to praise. We praise as well as pray in the Spirit. Or we may read it - in extolling the Lord one of the main points for thanksgiving is his revealed will in the Scriptures, and the fidelity with which he keeps his word of promise. "In God I have put my trust." Altogether and alone should we stay ourselves on God. What was a gracious resolve in the former verse, is here asserted as already done. "I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." Faith exercised, fear is banished, and holy triumph ensues, so that the soul asks, "What can flesh do unto me?" What indeed? He can do me no real injury; all his malice shall be overruled for my good. Man is flesh, flesh is grass - Lord, in thy name I defy its utmost wrath. There were two verses of complaint, and here are two of confidence; it is well to weigh out a sufficient quantity of the sweet to counteract the sour.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. in—or literally, "unto."
thee—to whom he turns in trouble.
Psalm 56:3 Parallel Commentaries
Psalm 56:3 NIV
Psalm 56:3 NLT
Psalm 56:3 ESV
Psalm 56:3 NASB
Psalm 56:3 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible