411

Protect Me, God: I Trust in You

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Like many psalm prayers, Psalm 16 includes a short petition to God, a lengthy declaration of trust and delight in the LORD, and gratitude for his many blessings. This psalm seems to arise out of some unspecified threat to the author's life-probably an illness, since no enemies are mentioned. Our voices join with the psalmist in a short prayer for protection and a confession of trust in the LORD (st. 1). Then we declare solidarity with God's people and repudiate all other gods and pagan ways (st. 2), acknowledging that the LORD has provided a secure and abundant source of all that blesses life (st. 3). The psalmist helps us gratefully rely only on the LORD as the One who assures life (st. 4)–even from the power of death (st. 5)–and who counsels in the way that leads to eternal joy in God's presence (st. 6). Michael John Saward (b. Blackheath, Kent, England, 1932) wrote this versification in 1970. It was commissioned for and first published in Psalm Praise (1973; see PHH 15).
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Difficult times occur in the lives and communities of God’s people because this is a fallen world. The confessions demonstrate this perspective:
  • Belgic Confession, Article 15 teaches that “…by the disobedience of Adam original sin has been spread through the whole human race…a corruption of the whole human nature...” As a result, God’s people are “guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all [our] ways” (Article 14). In addition, “The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt that they are enemies of God and of everything good. They lie in wait for the church and every member of it like thieves, with all their power, to destroy and spoil everything by their deceptions” (Article 12).
  • Our World Belongs to God continues to affirm that “God has not abandoned the work of his hands,” nevertheless “our world, fallen into sin, has lost its first goodness...” (paragraph 4). And now “all spheres of life—family and friendship, work and worship school and state, play and art—bear the wounds of our rebellion” (paragraph 16).
Yet, in a fallen world, God’s providential care is the source of great assurance, comfort and strength. Through these thoughts, our trust in God is inspired.
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13 is a reminder that God’s providence reassures us that God leads and governs all in this world “according to his holy will…nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement.” Further, this Confession identifies that this “gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father, who watches over us with fatherly care...in this thought we rest.”
  • Belgic Confession, Article 13, is a reminder that much is beyond human understanding and so “we do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what God does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 we testify that we “trust God so much that [we] do not doubt that he will provide whatever [we] need for body and soul and will turn to [our] good whatever adversity he sends upon [us] in this sad world.”
  • In Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 28, we are assured that through our trust in the providence of God we can have “good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing in creation will separate us from his love.”
  • When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask not to be brought into the time of trial but rescued from evil. In doing so we ask that the Lord will “uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle...” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question and Answer 127)
Belgic Confession, Article 26 speaks about the intercession of Christ as the ascended Lord. “We have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” We, therefore, do not offer our prayers as though saints could be our intercessor, nor do we offer them on the “basis of our own dignity but only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.” Because Jesus Christ is our sympathetic High Priest, we approach the throne “in full assurance of faith.”
 
No greater assurance can be found than that expressed in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “I am not my own by I belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”
 

In all difficult times, we eagerly await the final day when God “will set all things right, judge evil, and condemn the wicked” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 57).

411

Protect Me, God: I Trust in You

Additional Prayers

God of unending abundance,
in you alone we find all we need in this life and even more in the life to come.
Open our eyes to see your glory and our ears to hear your Word
until our hearts burn with the joy of your presence
and our lives proclaim the power of your love.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 
411

Protect Me, God: I Trust in You

Tune Information

Name
MEPHIBOSHETH
Key
g minor
Meter
8.8.8 refrain 4.4

Recordings

411

Protect Me, God: I Trust in You

Hymn Story/Background

Like many psalm prayers, Psalm 16 includes a short petition to God, a lengthy declaration of trust and delight in the LORD, and gratitude for his many blessings. This psalm seems to arise out of some unspecified threat to the author's life—probably an illness, since no enemies are mentioned. Our voices join with the psalmist in a short prayer for protection and a confession of trust in the LORD (st. 1). Then we declare solidarity with God's people and repudiate all other gods and pagan ways (st. 2), acknowledging that the LORD has provided a secure and abundant source of all that blesses life (st. 3). The psalmist helps us gratefully rely only on the LORD as the One who assures life (st. 4)—even from the power of death (st. 5)—and who counsels in the way that leads to eternal joy in God's presence (st. 6). Michael John Saward wrote this versification in 1970. It was commissioned for and first published in Psalm Praise (1973).
 
Christian T. Strover wrote MEPHIBOSHETH for this text in 1973. He explains the naming of the tune as follows: "Mephibosheth, a son of Saul, was lame in both feet. He was welcomed by David and lived in his house and fed at his table. The prayer of the song is appropriately illustrated in David's care and provision." Filled with rhythmic interest and a tender character, MEPHIBOSHETH repeats the first part of the psalm's prayer (v. 1) in its refrain. The unison melody requires a strong solo stop on the organ, with lighter accompaniment. A solo voice or choir could sing the stanzas, and everyone could join in on the refrain. Guitar and string bass accompaniment is also very appropriate.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Michael John Saward (b. Blackheath, Kent, England, 1932) was residentiary Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, and a church commissioner and member of the general synod of the Church of England. Educated at Eltham College, Bristol University, and Tyndale Hall, he was ordained in the Church of England in 1956. Saward served in several congregations and was radio and television officer for the Church Information Office (1967-1972). His publications include Leisure (1963), Couldn’t Care Less (1966), Don't Miss the Party (1974), and All Change (1983). Associated with the Jubilate Group for a number of years, he has written some sixty hymns and served as text editor for Hymns for Today's Church (1982).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Christian T. Strover (b. Colchester, Essex, England, 1932) received the B.Litt. and MA degrees from Hertford College in Oxford, England. He is director of music at Emmanuel School and organist and choirmaster at Christ Church in Beckenham, Kent, England. He has composed and arranged a number of hymn tunes, some of which appeared in Psalm Praise (1973).
— Bert Polman
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