Reading: Psalm 54
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David.
When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, “Is not David hiding among us?”
Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.
Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.
Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, LORD, for it is good.
You have delivered me from all my troubles,
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes (NIV).*
I like to prove that I’m right. I get a pleasure boost by showing an opponent that my skill, ability or reasoning is superior to theirs. What about you? I think it’s in our nature to stand up and crow when we score a goal, or are vindicated when challenged. Every athlete lives for that moment on top of the podium. I have a competitive spirit. I am sure the psalmist David was no different.
Once again, this is a psalm with a back story and in brief here it is: Though David was a faithful servant of his master King Saul, he was forced to flee because Saul was jealous of his success as a warrior, and was determined to hunt David down and kill him. On two occasions the Ziphites went to Saul and reported that David was hiding in their territory.
David begins this short psalm with a straightforward request: Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.
There is something unusual about David’s prayer request. He does not seek to be vindicated by his own might. He does not ask for strength or ability so he can be avenged against his mortal enemy, instead he asks God to intervene. He asks God to win the battle on his behalf. Let’s remember that David was a warrior. Of him it was sung, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). But rather than lift a finger to harm Saul, on two occasions David spared his life. When urged to kill Saul, David replied, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed…” (1 Samuel 24:6).
What about you and me? Are we trying to win battles in our own strength and ability—battles that belong to the LORD?
Response: LORD God, help me to know that the battle belongs to you and you are the ultimate victor. My trust is in you. I need not prove I am right. You will have the final say. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you seek vindication on your own or do you let the LORD be your vindicator? Do you go to God in prayer and let the LORD defend you?
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.
I have to lean on Jesus and His everlasting arms.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5 ESV
So true for me too, Wally. I need to live out Proverbs 3:5.