Ever feel like the whole world was against you? In Psalm 54 David, while fleeing from Saul, finds himself betrayed by the people who live in the area in which he is hiding. (You can read about it in 1 Samuel 23.) David realizes that his army is not large enough to defeat Saul and, even more importantly, David has no desire to fight against God's chosen king.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by life and surrounded by trouble? David shows us how to respond when life turns bad.
Psalm 54 is a menorah psalm. A menorah pattern is an inverted parallelism of thought. There are seven verse laid out so that the outside verses (1 and 7) relate to each other and then the next two verse working both from beginning and end (2 and 6) relate to each other, etc. The middle verse is the key verse that the other verses are expanding upon.
|v 1 - Save me!|
|v 2 - Hear me!|
|v 3 - People attack me|
|v 4 - God is my help|
|v 5 - Destroy them|
|v 6 - I will praise You|
|v 7 - You have delivered me!|
God is My Help
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life. Psalm 54:4
The central idea in this psalm is "God is my help." David recognizes that without God's help he is lost, but with God's help he can be victorious. In our own lives we need to remember that we are not alone. God is with us. If we trust in Him, He can bring the victory.
Don't Seek Vengeance
Psalm 54:3, 5
For strangers have risen against me; Psalm 54:3a
As we work out from the center and look at verses 3 and 5 we see that David is struggling because strangers have turned against him and people seek his life. Just like in David's situation, many of our problems in life are caused by the sins of those around us.
in your faithfulness put an end to them. Psalm 54:5b
David's answer is to turn those who hurt him over to God. When people hurt us we need to be careful to not seek our own vengeance. Place people in God's hands and trust him. In fact Jesus goes even further than David and commands us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and forgive those who hurt us (Matthew 6:14.) Not only did Jesus command us to love our enemies but demonstrated this love for us and died for us even though we were still His enemies.
Psalm 54:2, 6
O God, hear my prayer;
give ear to the words of my mouth. Psalm 54:2
As we move out one more step to verses 2 and 6 we see David pleading for God to listen (verse 2) balanced by his promise to worship God (verse 6.) David is so confident in God's power to save that he is already praising God. Even as we seek God's help we need to remind ourselves of the greatness of our God. Praise opens the door for God's blessing.
With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. Psalm 54:6
Psalm 54:1, 7
The two outside verses function as a call and response. David begins the psalm by asking God to save him and ends by declaring that God has delivered him from all his troubles. David is confident that God will save him because God has always delivered him in the past.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. Psalm 54:7
So we see a simple process for handling the struggles of life:
- Call on God for help remembering that God has never failed.
- Praise God even as you seek His help.
- Place the offending people in God's hands and forgive them.
- Trust God. He is your only hope.