10th October is World Mental Health Day – check out this blog post for that.
Throughout September 2022, I managed to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. For December 2022, attempted to pick up the discipline. I got part-way through that month, and so after a long hiatus, am determined to get going. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
On the 10th of October, here’s Psalm 54:
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.
What is this Psalm about?
In his commentary on the Psalms, Allen P. Ross calls this ‘A Confident Prayer for Deliverance from Violent Men’. In terms of it’s original context and meaning, it refers to David hiding, recorded in 1 Samuel 23:19 and 1 Samuel 26:1. It remains a cry for help – one that assumes that God hears, acts and cares – and we will all find ourselves in situations where we require help.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
Firstly, this Psalm teaches us that God saves, and that he vindicates, the latter being a marvellous word meaning ‘clear someone of blame or suspicion’. God’s might is behind this. That’s just verse 1! Verse 2 clearly teaches that God hears prayers, listening to His people’s prayers. Verse 4 shows us that God sustains His people, while verse 5 points to God’s faithfulness as being the force behind just judgement and the destruction of the wicked. Verse 6 makes it clear that God should be praised – and specifically that God’s name is good – echoing the power of God’s name revealed in verse 1. Verse 7 reminds us that God delivers people, and offers an interesting hint at placing us in a position of having a new vantage point of triumph.
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
Whether it is evil men pursuing violence, our own personal mental health challenges, or something else, God’s people still cry out for help. Psalm 54 reminds us that God hears, saves, and vindicates. It challenges us to praise Him regardless of circumstance, and offers us the hope of deliverance. If our suffering is due to injustice, I believe Psalm 54 offers a double encouragement – God’s faithfulness is with His people, and the end is His.
A prayer drawn from Psalm
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; 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. Amen