1 Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength. 2 Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.
4 Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
5 He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.
6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.
7 For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.
Once during my course of reading the Bible through, while reading about David’s life in I & II Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, I slowed down and looked up the cross references to the Psalms David had written during several of those incidents. Of course, we can do it the other way, too — when reading the Psalms we can look up the cross references to the ones that have them back to an incident in the Old Testament. Though in one sense we can just take the Psalms at face value, it really enriched the reading of both the narrative and the Psalms to know the context of each.
Psalm 54 was written concerning events in I Samuel 23 when David was running for his life from King Saul, hiding out in Ziph, and the Ziphites offered to give him up to Saul. “For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them,” verse 3. But David turns again to the only One who can help, the One in whom he has placed His confidence. He calls out for deliverance, relies in faith on God to provide it, and promises to praise and sacrifice to Him.
In this day and time there are still those with very real physical enemies; there are those who are persecuted for their faith. God will deliver them one way or another. We might also face those who are against us without just cause and those who would betray us: God is sufficient for even that.
Though these days in America we don’t usually face physical persecution for our faith and rarely have enemies that are after our lives, we do have an enemy, “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:7-9). We will ultimately be delivered from even him one day, and until then we can call out to God for deliverance from every battle in which we find ourselves.
See our Psalms Sunday hostess at Butterfly Kisses for more thoughts on this Psalm.