The Hebrew word “michtam” comes from a root that means “to carve or engrave”. It is used in the superscription of six psalms—16, 56, 57, 58, 59, and 60—to identify the genre of these compositions. Given the fact that the five psalms clustered together between 55 and 61 were written under adverse circumstances in David’s life—being hunted by King Saul (57, 59), captured by the Philistines (56), and military reversals (60:1-3)—it appears that the purpose of these psalms is to record some of the valuable lessons that David had engraved on his heart during some of his most difficult and trying circumstances.
What life lessons did David have indelibly etched into his heart and soul during the storms of life he faced? Here are a few that can be easily identified:
- Your faith must be stubborn when your enemies hound you all day, twisting your words, and marking your steps (Psalm 56:2, 5-6).
- Your faith must be steadfast when your soul is bowed down (Psalm 57:6-7).
- Your faith must be certain that God will deliver His righteous people (Psalms 56:4, 11; 58:10-11).
- Your faith must be patient when your enemies rise up (Psalm 59:1-3, 9).
- Your faith must be penitent when your spiritual defeat has come because of personal failings (Psalm 60:1-3, 11-12).
When used as God has designed it to be, the shield of faith is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16). According to David, that is not a theory; it is a fact that has been etched into history and was engraved in his heart.