I Didn’t Deserve This
Save me, O God, by Your name;And vindicate me by Your [wondrous] power. Hear my prayer, O God;Listen to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen against meAnd violent men have sought my life;They have not set God before them. Selah. Behold, God is my helper and ally;The Lord is the sustainer of my soul [my upholder]. He will pay back the evil to my enemies;In Your faithfulness destroy them. With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to You;I will give thanks and praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good. For He has rescued me from every trouble,And my eye has looked with satisfaction (triumph) on my enemies.
Several years ago the athletic director of a major university fired the football coach. Asked by a reporter if he was bitter, the coach replied, “Not at all, but I plan to buy a glass-bottomed car so I can watch the look on his face when I run over him.”
How do you handle unfair treatment?
The person whom you taught job skills got promoted over you. The child you helped most is the most ungrateful. The husband you worked to put through school ran off with someone else. A friend with whom you shared your secrets and inner thoughts now uses them against you.
When it’s not fair….
Psalm 54 is a reflection from David who knew what it was like to get dumped on. He had come to the rescue of his own tribe of Judah. The Phillistines had looted the threshing floors, taking the resources of all the families in the place and David came to the rescue.(1 Samuel 23:1-4)
Those whom David rescued went to Saul and informed him that David was hiding with them. It was only due to the Phillistines attacking that David was able to escape the dragnet Saul had in place. However, not content with the first betrayal, the Ziphites( those whom David rescued), they went to Saul the second time to tattle on David’s whereabouts. Saul again closes in, but while he naps, David creeps down and took the king’s spear and water jug while sparing his life. When David confronted Saul from the top of the hill, Saul blessed David and ceased from the hunt.
The story tells us that David was delivered and never took vengeance on his betrayers for twice betraying him.
Without this background, Psalm 54 could not be understood. The psalm opens with the exact words the Ziphites spoke to Saul in the first betrayal: “Is not David hiding among us.”
God heard and granted David’s prayer not only the first time but subsequently when he needed to pray the very same words again. Like David, we, too, may find ourselves repeatedly in the position of danger be it physical, psychological or spiritual where only God can help. Like David, we may cry out, “Save me, O God, by your name, vindicate me by your might. Hear my prayer, O God, listen to the words of my mouth.”(verses 1,2).
Quite a number of life’s issues stem from others. We ask, “Why are they so inconsiderate or ungrateful? Why are they so ruthless or lacking godly character?
Set before us are two choices: we can focus on who’s against us or we can choose to focus on who is for us: “Surely God is my help, the Lord is the one who sustains me.”(verse 4).
In the midst of his trust in God, David also turns in anger toward those who so mistreated him. (Verse 5). Anger is appropriate for it is God’s built in defense to stand up instead of being ran over. Forgiveness is incredible important but we can’t get there until we have first processed our feelings of anger. Like steam from a boiling pot, anger needs to be vented less it becomes explosive wrath.
We learn from David that the safest place to put our anger is in God’s hands. He teaches us to leave it with God to deal with those who brought him such distress. Their punishment was not to be his problem and neither it it ours to those who betray us.
The psalm ends with David making an all too familiar promise that when God delivers him, he will give a free Will offering to the Lord. In other words he prays what we often pray, “God get me out of this mess and I’ll be so grateful and will faithfully serve you.”
David testifies of his complete trust in the Lord to pull him through: “For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.”(verse 7)
Let’s talk about us. Have we given consideration to what we will do when the Lord brings us out of our crisis? Will we choose to “run over” those who hurt us? If so we need to know that it won’t bring us any lasting satisfaction. What we will find is that letting God work out His purposes in our lives, gaining a maturity in facing difficulties and patterning our responses after Jesus Christ will end with good overcoming evil.
Dr. John Thompson