May 15 2023
Today, Monday May 15
“Hear My Prayer, O God”
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Contemplation of David when the Ziphites went and said to Saul, ‘Is David not hiding with us?’
“Save me, O God, by Your name, And vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; Give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen up against me, And oppressors have sought after my life; They have not set God before them. Selah
Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
He will repay my enemies for their evil. Cut them off in Your truth. I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good. For He has delivered me out of all trouble; And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.”
I’ve been reading the Psalms on a daily basis for now over 50 years, and they never get old, and I never get tired of them. Every day they seem to reach down into my heart and give me insight into the heart of God and give me strength and courage for the tasks I face each day. They give me encouragement for the issues and troubles and trials I encounter. They teach me how to pray for mercy and grace when I sin against a holy and just God. And they instruct me how to face my enemies and those who might be trying to oppose us and take us down.
Psalm 54 is one of those Psalms that help us deal with the betrayal of those that we would have thought would be on our side to help us when we were facing a death and life struggle. From the title we again learn the history behind the birth of this prayer of David. This is a maschil psalm, or in some translations it is called, “a contemplation”. Psalm 54 is the seventh of thirteen such Psalms, all of which are psalms of instruction with a sermonic quality about them and a lesson to teach.
Some translations also use "To the chief Musician on Neginoth", instead of “With stringed instruments”. The word neginoth means "smitings." There are eight psalms which have this note attached, and they all contain a record of deliverance from personal smitings. The worse pain we face is not always physical, but emotional. Especially when it comes from a friend or someone we think we should be able to trust. Remember this happened to Jesus when Judas betrayed Him.
David wrote this Psalm when he was a hunted fugitive, fleeing from place to place, never more than a step away from death. Saul was intent on killing him, and at his court informers whispered lies into his jealous ears and kept his hatred and suspicion of David inflamed. Some of these men were hirelings, some were envious former companions of David. David never felt safe and, as the heat of pursuit increased, he found he could not trust even those who should have been at his side. The Ziphites, whose little town lay fifteen miles southeast of Hebron and within the boundaries of the tribe of Judah, David's tribe, were a case in point.
The Ziphites betrayed David on two separate occasions. The first time was in 1 Samuel 23:19-23. By the time Saul showed up David had moved his small group of men to another location. And Saul was called back to his home territory because the Philistines had attacked.
The second time the Ziphites betrayed David is found 1 Samuel 26:1-3. This is no doubt sometime later and this time David could have had Saul killed but chose to spare his life (1 Samuel 26:4-25). That Saul should suspect him and seek to slay him was inexcusable but understandable. But the Ziphites should have at least maintained a friendly neutrality. Instead they curried favor with Saul by betraying David on these two occasions.
How did David respond to this treachery and pain of betrayal? He did what he always did, He prayed! “Save me, O God, by Your name, And vindicate me by Your strength. Hear my prayer, O God; Give ear to the words of my mouth” (v. 1). And that is what we should also do when we face this kind of trial and pain of betrayal. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, and telling everyone about it on social media, we should tell the Lord about it and ask for His deliverance and help.
Today we can come boldly to the throne of grace, where we can obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of our need! (Hebrews 4:16).