Psalm 54 - God Is My Helper

INTRODUCTION: Because Saul was king in Israel and very jealous of David, even in his own territory of Judah David could not be safe. King Saul had thrown his spear at David on two separate occasions when David was playing his harp to comfort the king. Saul sent David out against the Philistine army hoping he would be killed, but David became even more popular among the people through his victories. Afterward David had to flee by night through a window from his own house because Saul had sent men to lie in wait to kill him. As David moved about as a fugitive, there were some in Judah who gave reports to King Saul about the location of David and his men, and this Psalm reflects one such occasion.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the 1901 American Standard Version.


A - JONATHAN AFFIRMED HIS LOYALTY TO THE FUGITIVE DAVID

1 Samuel 23 "14 And David abode in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill-country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. 15 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in the wood. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said unto him, Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. 18 And they two made a covenant before Jehovah: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house. 19 Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in the strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of the desert? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down, according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him up into the king's hand. 21 And Saul said, Blessed be ye of Jehovah; for ye have had compassion on me. 22 Go, I pray you, make yet more sure, and know and see his place where his haunt is, [and] who hath seen him there; for it is told me that he dealeth very subtly. 23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking-places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me of a certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah. 24 And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah on the south of the desert. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down to the rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard [that], he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 27 But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have made a raid upon the land. 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth. 29 And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi."

COMMENTS: At the opening of the above chapter David had inquired of Jehovah and followed the direction to take his men there and their victory saved the city of Keilah in Judah from an attack by the Philistines. David heard that Saul planned to come there after him, so he had Abiathar the priest bring the ephod so he could inquire of Jehovah. When it was confirmed that Saul would come and the men of Keilah would surrender David, he went to Ziph. Since Saul found that David had moved away, he tried to find his new location every day but Jehovah kept David from being delivered to him. Saul's son Jonathan met with David and they made a covenant of loyalty to each other before Jehovah, then Jonathan returned to his house. Some of the men of Ziph told King Saul that David was in their territory, but David moved on again before Saul arrived with his army. Saul's search for David brought them near to each other without direct contact, and then Saul was drawn away because of a report that he needed to engage the Philistines who were raiding the country. David then traveled on with his men to the strongholds of En-gedi. These actual events were in David's thoughts as he composed Psalm 54.


B - THE MEN OF ZIPH BETRAYED DAVID TO SAUL

Psalm 54 "1 [For the Chief Musician; on stringed instruments. Maschil of David; when the Ziphites came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?] Save me, O God, by thy name, And judge me in thy might. 2 Hear my prayer, O God; Give ear to the words of my mouth. 3 For strangers are risen up against me, And violent men have sought after my soul: They have not set God before them. Selah."

COMMENTS: The heading for this Psalm designates that the chief musician should accompany the recitation with stringed instruments, and the term Maschil denotes the sense of pensive or thoughtful consideration. King Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin and David was of the tribe of Judah. Saul had victories for Israel for several decades, but he began to act contrary to the will of Jehovah. David became active in military leadership with his forces being very successful against the Philistines to the point that moved Saul into bitter jealousy. 1 Samuel 18 "7 And the women sang one to another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands. 8 And Saul was very wroth, and this saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?"

David had never been disloyal to King Saul, and he did not promote himself before the people. But after David had to escape from his house in the night, he was never able to trust King Saul to allow him back peacefully. That persecution of David by Saul resulted in some mixed loyalties in Israel. When men of Ziph told Saul that David was with them, He had to flee again to avoid battle with Saul. David asked to be saved not by man, but by the very name of Jehovah because therein was tremendous power that could judge David guiltless by providing protection. David's plea was for God to hear his prayer which he apparently spoke aloud as he asked that God hear the words of his mouth. David did not go through an intermediate priest, but made his request directly to God in prayer. Men who were strangers to David, and many violent men had set themselves against David to threaten his life, and David declared that they had not turned to God to direct their actions.


C - GOD IS MY HELPER

Psalm 54 "4 Behold, God is my helper: The Lord is of them that uphold my soul. 5 He will requite the evil unto mine enemies: Destroy thou them in thy truth. 6 With a freewill-offering will I sacrifice unto thee: I will give thanks unto thy name, O Jehovah, for it is good. 7 For he hath delivered me out of all trouble; And mine eye hath seen [my desire] upon mine enemies."

COMMENTS: David's prayer brought him to the point of affirming that God was his helper, and that the Lord was with those who were upholding him with protection. David believed God would bring revenge for the evil back onto his enemies and destroy them in God's truth. This brought him to vow to make an offering of sacrifice not out of duty, but freely because he wanted to give thanks unto the name of Jehovah, for it is good. Even though David was still a fugitive from King Saul he praised Jehovah for deliverance out of all trouble, and proclaimed that he had seen with his own eyes his desire upon his enemies.

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

I find that soothing music can be an aide to peaceful reflection when I begin to offer a prayer to you my God about some turmoil in my life. Your name Jehovah is a comfort to me because I know you are all powerful with no limit to the ability to hear my prayer and provide the answer that you have chosen for me. Whether my security or my reputation is threatened by strangers or even by acquaintenances who are acting as enemies, I want my appeal to be because they have not set their deeds before you. Thank you my Savior for providing others around me who can come to my aid because of your enablement. I want to allow your truth to be the repayment for those who have sought to harm me. I will give thanks unto your name and seek ways to freely make offerings in recognition of your glory. Your name, Jehovah, is good and I believe through Christ you have delivered me from all enemies of my soul that I may praise you forever. Amen.

Published 29 April 2015