Mighty God, may all that I am and do today speak of your great power that is at work, not just in creation, but in me.
Read PSALM 54
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil[b] of David. When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, “Is not David hiding among us?”
1 Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
2 Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.
3 Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.[c]
4 Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.
6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.
7 You have delivered me from all my troubles,
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.
- Psalm 54:1 In Hebrew texts 54:1-7 is numbered 54:3-9.
- Psalm 54:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
- Psalm 54:3 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.’1
Today’s psalm is a prayer for deliverance from enemies who want to kill David. It has a chiastic structure in which the seven verses follow a pattern: a1-b1-c1-d-c2- b2-a2. In such a symmetrical structure, the middle verse (d) is the key: verse 4, David’s declaration of trust in God, who is his help and the one who sustains him. Verse 1 is David’s cry for vindication, verse 7 his statement of assurance that he will look in triumph on his enemies. Similarly, verse 3 states his situation and verse 5 is his request for God to judge his foes. The whole psalm frames and moves toward the beautiful statement about God’s faithful character in verse 4.
David models a way to come to God with emotional honesty, expressing his true feelings and needs. He boldly requests that God will save him and vindicate him by his might. He acknowledges his enemies who are aggressively seeking his life and he asks God to repay evil to his enemies. He does not take it upon himself to seek vengeance, but trusts in God’s justice to vindicate him and judge his enemies. There is an appeal to the spiritual principle of reaping and sowing and a confidence that those who have caused him trouble will themselves reap trouble in time.
The psalm moves from prayer to praise, a common pattern throughout the psalter. As David pours out his heart honestly to God, his spirit is lifted and he praises God, his helper, protector, friend, and vindicator. This progression encapsulates much of the Christian life. As we learn to come to God in honest prayer with our troubles, worries, fears, and pain, he reminds us of who he is and helps us to worship him for that reality.
How can you bring your pain and worry to God in prayer and in faith? Allow God to remind you of his character and lead you into praise.
Help me, Lord God, to praise you, not only in the easy times, but in the hard times, as well. Help me to be thankful, not just when answers to prayer come, but when I must wait on you for them, too.
Last Updated on July 16, 2023 by kingstar