Already delivered, Psalm 54

cotton ball cloudsIn today’s culture of death, when evil men persecute Christians and sin remains deeply woven into society’s fabric, consider David’s pleas and praise in Psalm 54.

As he so often does, David begins the psalm by begging God to hear his prayer:

O God, save me by your name,
    and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer;
    give ear to the words of my mouth (Psalm 54:1-2, ESV)

He then states the reason he cries to God.

For strangers have risen against me;
    ruthless men seek my life;
    they do not set God before themselves (verse 3, ESV).

Christians today all over the world and in our own country are beset by ruthless men and strangers who rise up against them. These enemies have no regard for the God who made them and created all things. They do not look to God or follow his commands.

But believers acknowledge their dependence on the Lord and his sustaining power.

Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will return the evil to my enemies;
    in your faithfulness put an end to them (verses 4-5, ESV).

Christians realize they can do nothing without God equipping them. He upholds us physically through each breath and heartbeat, emotionally through each trauma and grief, and spiritually through each perplexity and doubt.

And he does not allow evil to triumph ultimately. He will put an end to the enemies of Christians, who are also his enemies.

When we see this happen, we can praise God. We may praise him as individuals, but we encourage other believers when we share accounts of God’s deliverance. And our appropriate response is a thankful spirit in corporate worship.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
    I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
    and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies (verses 6-7, ESV).

David frequently reviewed the many ways God had delivered him in the past. He wrote these words long before his final cold and weak days, while he still fought and sang with youthful vigor. In fact, he wrote this while fleeing for his life from Saul. Despite the present danger, David considered that God had already delivered him from every trouble.

The Psalms often convey God’s deliverance as if it’s already accomplished. How would it change your outlook if you ended each prayer by confessing God’s resolution of your problem?

We may not always see the resolution to every problem or persecution in this life, but from God’s infinite perspective it’s already a done deal. Praise his name!

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Upheld life, Psalm 54

>Awaking the Dawn, Psalm 108What problems plague you on this Monday morning? If you live in the Midwest, it’s another bitterly cold and fiercely windy day. You can pretty much ignore it if you work inside. But nearly everyone has to drive to work in it and some people, like rural letter carriers and truck drivers, have to drive all day in it. Others, like utility workers and city mail carriers, have to be out in it. If you dread going back to work today, think about (and pray for) these poor folks or others who have more difficult jobs than you.

The key to facing life with a good attitude, however, doesn’t come from simply comparing yours to others who have it worse. Psalm 54 reveals the key to unlock the calm attitude door.

In Psalm 54, David expresses a plea and describes a problem. Then he confesses the Rescuer and commits to a response.

He begins, not by asking God to equip him to action, but by pleading for God to act:

O God, save me by your name,
    and vindicate me by your might.
O God, hear my prayer;
    give ear to the words of my mouth (Psalm 54, 1 & 2, ESV).

You think you’ve got problems? Look at David’s!

For strangers have risen against me;
    ruthless men seek my life;
    they do not set God before themselves. Selah (3, ESV).

Scholars differ on interpretations regarding that little word “Selah,” but I think it’s safe to assume it means something like, “Pause and consider.” So let’s think about our problems. Each of us has their own personal struggles. You may face another bitter day of work in sub-zero temperatures. Or you may be headed for another day of working with difficult people who manipulate against you behind your back. You may be underpaid and under-appreciated. You may be bullied at school or work. You may be manipulated and abused, stuck in a situation that looks hopeless. You may wonder how you can cope with your physical or emotional pain today. Like David, you may even be persecuted by ruthless strangers who seek your life.

All of these problems are the result of sin, from the wickedness of those who reject God and his ways, to the physical ravages of disease, to life-threatening weather. Too many of our problems are beyond our control. Do you sing with Penny in The Rescuers“Who will rescue me?”

There’s only one answer to that question.

Behold, God is my helper;
    the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will return the evil to my enemies;
    in your faithfulness put an end to them (4 & 5, ESV).

God is the Supreme Rescuer. He upholds your life and mine. We don’t have to scheme about getting even or dream of exacting revenge. God’s in control. He’s the One who will return evil to his enemies and yours. He is faithful and will put an end to them. You may not see it in your short lifetime, but God will make sure good triumphs in the end.

We may see how God overthrows the enemies in our lives, but even if we don’t see immediate results, we can trust God to make everything right one day. And we can trust him to uphold and sustain us while we suffer.

David’s problems were not resolved while he wrote this psalm. The ruthless men were still seeking his life. But he confessed God as his Rescuer and was convinced he would act (“He will return the evil” and “put an end to them”).

David responded with such faith in God’s future actions that it was as if he already saw the result.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
    I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
    and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies (6 & 7, ESV).

Before he was even delivered from his enemies, David responded with a commitment to freely offer a sacrifice and thank God for his anticipated deliverance. He reminded himself of past rescues with assurance for future ones.

Whatever problems you face on this bitter morning, know that God is in control. If you believe in the finished work of Jesus, God upholds your life now and will certainly rescue you in the future. Trust him and thank him!