In my Bible, this information appears as something of a prelude to the Psalm: “When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, ‘Is not David hiding among us?’”
That line likely wasn’t part of the original Psalm. Someone along the way probably added it to give us the possible historical context for the chapter. Whether or not it was part of what David originally wrote, the lines sure do fit.
How would you respond if you were being pursued and someone were seeking to take your life?
OK, that is probably not a question that resonates with your normal experience. Let me ask this one instead: “How do you respond when the obstacles/problems in your life seem insurmountable and larger than life?”
We do well when our first response is like that of David’s opening lines…calling out to God for help. “Save me…vindicate me…Hear my prayer…listen to the words of my mouth.” Unfortunately, we sometimes go directly into personal problem solving mode where we fret as if it is up to us to find the way out.
We do well when we remain confident like David in verse 4. It is God, who is our help. He is the one who sustains us. Unfortunately, we sometimes conclude that He has abandoned us. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, we will find our confidence strengthened when we do what David did in verse 7. He reflected on the ways that God had delivered him from his troubles in the past.
We do well when we commit to continued service and praise to God the way that David did in verse 6. In spite of the circumstances, we should still “sacrifice a freewill offering” and “praise your name, Lord, for it is good.”
David’s prayerful responses in Psalm 54 are good reminders to us in the midst of adversity. But there is one more thing worth noting. Did this come natural for David? I am not sure that it did. 1 Samuel 23:16 tells us that Jonathan “helped [David] find strength in God.”
Is it possible that the words of encouragement Jonathan offered provided the inspiration for the words of Psalm 54? I think so. Is it possible that encouragement we receive from others can cause us to find strength in times of despair? I know it to be true.
In times of trouble, seek encouragement from others so that your dependence on God grows!