Psalm 56 begins with the psalmist crying out for God to be gracious to him. We soon find out that the psalmist is surrounded by those who oppress and have “trampled upon” him continually. In fact if we look through the psalm many verbs are used to describe how others are treating the psalmist: they trample, oppress, fight against him, distort his words, wish evil towards him, attack, lurk, watch his steps, and try to kill him (Ps. 56:1-2, 5-6 NRSV). He can find no grace from others, so in desperation he turns to God for the grace he needs.
The psalmist trusts in God and praises his Word, why? The psalmist says, “This I know, that God is for me” (Ps. 56:9). He does not suppose, guess, or merely hope that God is for him, he emphatically claims that “he knows.” The psalmist is assured that God is for him, and therefore, he is able to trust and praise God despite the current circumstances in his life. He may be surrounded by people who malign him, try to hurt him, who distort his words and his intentions, yet because he has no doubt that God is for him, he does not fear what others can do. The psalmist has remembered all that God has done for his people: as the Creator who formed humans in God’s own image, as the one who established a covenant with Abraham, as the one who called forth Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, as the pillar of cloud and fire who personally led the people through the desert wilderness, and as the one who provided for the people of God in the desert wanderings by providing water, meat, and even manna from heaven. God has demonstrated that God is for us.
In order for us to completely trust God and sing his praises regardless of the trauma and difficulties we face in life, we must “know” with every fiber of our being that God is for us. When we are assured of this, we too will not fear what others may try to do to us.