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Psalm 54: What God Has Done and Will Do Print E-mail
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Sunday, 08 January 2012

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The New Year always brings with it a certain amount of excitement and concern. Excitement about what might be over the next twelve months. And concern over the same. What will happen in 2012? Will the year be good, bad, the same, different, etc.? As we think about this coming year, let me ask you this question: do you believe that God will be faithful in 2012? I am pretty sure that most of us answer with a quick: ĎOf course He will.í And rightfully so. He will be faithful. But thatís not the question I asked. Let me ask it again: do you believe that God will be faithful this year? As you think about all that could happen this year, all the excitement and all the concern, all the good and all the bad, how does your belief in Godís faithfulness impact your approach to the new year? Do you just acknowledge it or do you rest in it? Do you trust in Him and His faithfulness, or do you say your prayers and move quickly to all your plans and schemes and fears and worries for the coming year?.

Over the next few weeks we are going to be looking at some psalms (54-57) that encourage us to trust in the Lord and His faithfulness.  They teach us that we can trust in the Lord for 2012.  We begin this morning with Psalm 54.  The heading for this psalm identifies David as its author and points to a particular time in Davidís life for its background.  Before David became King in Israel, he spent many years running for his life and hiding from Saul.  On a couple of occasions (see 1 Samuel 23:19ff and 26:1ff), we are told of the Ziphites speaking to Saul and telling him where David is hiding.  Both of these were terrible situations in Davidís life.  The whole experience of running from Saul had to be difficult.  One mistake, like going around a particular mountain the wrong way (see 1 Samuel 23:26ff), and David would be caught.  Psalm 54 captures Davidís desperate situation and gives us a glimpse at the faith that sustained him through these difficulties.  As we face the unknown of 2012, it is good for us to listen to Davidís prayer in this psalm and learn from his faith in the Lord.  I want to break the prayer (and statement of faith) up into four different sections: the request, the reason, the reminder, and the response (yes, this sermon is being brought to you today by the letter Ďrí).

The request (v. 1-2)

David voices his petitions in verses 1-2.  Look at those with me.  David prays for deliverance and salvation.  He does not want to fall to his enemies and he knows that the threat is real.  He prays that God save and vindicate him.  Why does David ask for vindication?  He believed that his enemies were wrong in their pursuit of him.  He believed that he had done nothing to merit Saulís wrath.  Thus, he prays that God would vindicate him and make the mistreatment by his enemies clear.  David prays that God would do this by your name and by your might.  David understands that his salvation and vindication is connected and dependent upon God and His glory.  If David is to be delivered, then God must do it by His might.  And when that happens it will be for the glory of His name.  As we have seen throughout the psalms (and the rest of the Bible) God saves His people by His might for the glory of His name.  Just like David, our salvation is a constant witness to the glory and might of Almighty God.  Thus, David prayed for God to hear his prayers and to deliver him for the glory of His name.  This was his request.

The reason (v. 3)

Why did David offer this petition?  What was he facing?  He tells us in verse 3.  Look at that with me.  David is honest about the situation in which he finds himself.  He does not try and sugar coat what he is facing.  And if the background for the psalm is the situation in 1 Samuel 23 or 26, then he is not overstating the problem.  The Ziphites really did rise against him and Saulís army really was seeking his life.  He is asking for deliverance because he knows that death could be around the next turn.  Saul wanted David dead or alive and David knew this.  He had to wonder if he would be able to continually evade his enemies.

Yet, David knew where to turn.  Yes, he had a good reason for requesting deliverance and he knew who could grant the request.  He took his struggles and concerns to the only place he could, namely the throne of God.  He knew that his enemies were not seeking after the Lord, but he would not make the same mistake.  He cried out to the Lord and prayed for deliverance from this desperate situation.

The reminder (v. 4-5)

Why did David cry out to God in this desperate situation?  Why did he put his trust in the Lord for his deliverance?  David trusted in God because he knew the character of God.  Look at verses 4 and 5.  David knew that God was his helper.  He knew that God was the upholder of my life.  He knew that God would deal with his enemies.  David has just stated that these ruthless men were seeking his life, but he knew that God was in charge of his life.  David had just spoken of their failure to seek God, but he knew that God would bring justice to them.  The character of God was the answer to his concerns.  One commentator writes: ďÖnothing can support us in the hour of temptation, when the Divine deliverance may be long delayed, but a firm persuasion that God is true, and that he cannot deceive us by his divine promises.  (Davidís) confidence of obtaining his request was grounded upon the circumstance that God could no more deny his word than deny himself.Ē   When the difficulties come, do you have such a Ďfirm persuasioní so that you can wholly trust in Godís faithfulness?

These verses are David reminding himself what he knows to be true about his God.  He is keeping the truth of Godís character ever before him.  Is this what you are fighting for when the dark days come?  Make no mistake about it, so much of the battle depends upon us really understanding how (and who) to fight.  We must be a people who fight hard to remember and believe what we know to be true about God.  Yes, there are times when we have to make plans and deal with whatever it is that we are facing, but we must first do battle with our own souls to make certain that our trust and hope rest squarely (and securely) on the character of our God.  I cannot tell you what is going to happen in 2012.  But I can tell you this: if you have turned from your sins and trusted in Jesusí life and death for your sins, then you can rest in the fact that whatever happens, the Lord will be your helper, the upholder of your life.  Spend time each day reflecting on such glorious truth.  Never grow tired of being reminded of Godís care and concern for His people.  Fight for faith in Him and His character.  No matter what happens, such faith will make all the difference in the world.

The response (v. 6-7)

David records his response to Godís faithfulness in verse 6.  Look at that with me.  David responds with worship and thanksgiving.  Some say that these verses could only have been written after the situation that David was facing was resolved.  Only then would he offer praise and thanks.  But that is not necessarily true.  Yes, David could have written the psalm (or finished the psalm) after the situation was over.  But he may have written it during the trial, the future tenses tend to lead to this conclusion.  Thus, again, we see Davidís confidence and trust in the Lord.  He knows that the Lord will see him through.  He knows that God will not abandon him.  He trusts in Godís sovereign protection and provision.  And he tells the Lord: ĎI will praise you and thank you when this trial is over.í

Why does David respond with such praise and thanksgiving?  Look at verses 6b-7.  First, David promises worship because of Godís character.  He knows that God is good.  Thus, whatever happens, however it plays out, David knows that God will be good.  He will be worthy of praise and thanksgiving.  Second, not only that, but David promises such worship because of how God has dealt with him in the past.  David says: For (God) has delivered me from every trouble, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my enemies.  David recalls all that God has done for him in the past and knows that he has no reason to fear the future.  God has given David victory over his enemies.  God has delivered David from all his troubles.  So then, why should David not believe that God is going to see him through this trial?  No, he is confident in Godís goodness and ability to deliver.  So confident that he goes ahead and promises God praise and thanksgiving. 

In the midst of a desperate situation, David prays with confidence in the Lord because of Godís character and what He has done for him in the past.  He asks for deliverance from the dire circumstances believing that God is his helper and upholder.  So then, can we have such confidence as we approach 2012?  The answer is yes!  How?  By remembering the character of our God and all that He has done for us.  He will be faithful because He is faithful and we know that because He has been faithful!  Maybe you might respond: ĎHow has God been faithful?í  Let me close with just a couple of answers to that question.

First, He was faithful in 2011 was He not?  Granted, you may have faced some difficult days last year (didnít we all), but, even so, God did not abandon you.  He did not leave you on your own.  In that sense, at least, He has delivered you and seen you through (even if some of the problems you faced are still not resolved).  Yet, maybe you are still not convinced.  Well, let me remind you of one other way that God has been faithful toward us.

Second, He was faithful in sending us a Savior.  The pages of the Old Testament are filled with promises of a Redeemer, One who would come and deliver us from all our enemies.  God has kept all of those promises by sending us Jesus.  Jesus took on flesh, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and was raised again.  Through His sacrifice God has defeated all our enemies, namely sin, Satan, and death.  If you have turned from your sins and trusted in Christ, if your hope is in God and His plan to make you more like Jesus through the power of the Spirit, then what do you have to fear in 2012?  God will be faithful to His plans for His people.  You can count on it.  Face this year with confidence in Godís faithfulness.  Like David, remember that He is your helper and the upholder of your life.  Amen.

1 John Calvin, Calvinís Commentaries, Vol. V (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005), p. 325-26 (volume second).

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 January 2012 )

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