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Psalm 56:8-9 & meaning...

You 

number my wanderings. You put my tears into your bottle. Aren’t they in your book? Then my enemies shall turn back in the day that I call. I know this, that God is for me.

Psalm 56:8-9

Context

I will not be afraid.

    What can flesh do to me?

All day long they twist my words.

    All their thoughts are against me for evil.

They conspire and lurk,

    watching my steps, they are eager to take my life.

Shall they escape by iniquity?

    In anger cast down the peoples, God.

You number my wanderings.

    You put my tears into your bottle.

    Aren’t they in your book?

Then my enemies shall turn back in the day that I call.

    I know this, that God is for me.

Psalm 56 [10.] In God, I will praise his word.

    In Yahweh, I will praise his word.


Meaning:

  • God's Attention to Detail:

The psalmist begins by expressing a profound awareness of God's attention to the intricacies of their life: "You number my wanderings." This goes beyond a mere acknowledgment of divine omniscience; it conveys a sense of God actively counting, taking note, and intimately understanding every step of the psalmist's journey.

Cross-Reference: Psalm 139:3: "You perceive my thoughts from afar." The theme of God's intimate knowledge and awareness of every aspect of our lives is echoed in other psalms.

  • Tears in God's Bottle:

The imagery of tears being collected in God's bottle is a poetic portrayal of God's compassion and empathy. "You put my tears into your bottle" evokes a vivid image of God tenderly gathering the psalmist's tears, signifying a profound connection with human suffering and sorrow.

Cross-Reference: Psalm 34:18: "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." The concept of God's nearness in times of distress is reiterated in various psalms.

  • Tears Recorded in God's Book:

The continuation, "Aren’t they in your book?" adds another layer to the imagery. It suggests that not only are the tears collected, but they are also recorded in God's book. This metaphorical book symbolizes God's remembrance, an assurance that every tear shed is acknowledged and eternally remembered by the Divine.

  • Assurance of Victory:

The tone shifts in the subsequent verse, transitioning from the psalmist's reflection on God's intimate care to a declaration of trust and confidence: "Then my enemies shall turn back in the day that I call." The psalmist expresses assurance that God's response to their distress will result in the defeat of enemies.

Cross-Reference: Psalm 118:6: "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" The confidence in God's support and the assurance of victory over enemies echo in various psalms.

  • God is For Me:

The declaration, "I know this: that God is for me," serves as the pinnacle of the psalmist's trust and confidence in God. It encapsulates the essence of their unwavering faith—a recognition that the Almighty is not distant or indifferent but actively in favor of the psalmist.

Cross-Reference: Romans 8:31: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" This New Testament verse echoes the sentiment expressed in Psalm 56:9, emphasizing the assurance that God's favor is a powerful ally against any opposition.


Practical Application:

God's Intimate Care: Psalm 56:8-9 invites us to reflect on the personal and intimate care that God extends to each of us. It prompts us to recognize that our tears are not overlooked; they are collected, remembered, and acknowledged by a compassionate God.

Confidence in God's Support: The psalmist's declaration of God being for them resonates in our lives. It challenges us to approach challenges with confidence, knowing that the Creator of the universe is on our side.

Recording Our Sorrows: The imagery of tears being recorded in God's book reminds us that our sorrows are not in vain. In times of despair, we can find solace in the belief that God not only sees our tears but eternally remembers them.


In conclusion, Psalm 56:8-9 paints a portrait of divine intimacy, where God actively numbers our wanderings, collects our tears, and records our sorrows in His eternal book. It is a psalm that invites us to trust in the compassionate care of God and declare, with unwavering confidence, that God is indeed for us. As we navigate the complexities of life, may the assurance of God's intimate presence bring comfort, strength, and an enduring trust in the One who collects our tears in His bottle.


PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible