Let’s read that psalm. Psalm 54:1-7 says, “To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us? Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah. Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth. I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.”

This psalm is a prayer of David when he was on the run from Saul. Twice, the Ziphites (or Ziphims), had betrayed David by telling Saul where he was hiding. We read about this in 1 Samuel 23:19, “Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?” The other time mentioned is in 1 Samuel 26:1.

This psalm can be broken down into two sections:

Verses 1-3 is a prayer for salvation, while

Verses 4-7 exhibit the assurance of faith.

Notice David’s first words in this psalm, “Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.” He calls on God in view of all that is implied in His name. His very name implies great strength, so David asks the Lord to judge favorably towards him by His strength. Of course, in this instance, David is praying for ‘temporal salvation’, he is asking to be saved from his earthly enemies.

In verse 3, David points out that his enemies are also the Lord’s enemies. He says, “they have not set God before them.” This is in contrast to David, who kept the Lord before himself. He writes in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

Next, we see the word ‘Selah’. We should keep in mind that a psalm is a literal song that was meant to be sung. ‘Selah’ is a musical expression that calls for a rest, or pause, in the tune. This causes us to pause and consider what has been said. What we have seen, so far, is David’s earnest and urgent prayer to the Lord to be delivered from his enemies. I’m reminded of Peter’s earnest and urgent prayer as he was sinking into the ocean in Matthew 14:30 where he prayed, “Lord, save me.” How precious it is to know that we do not need to invent prayers of great and impressive words to gain the Lord’s ear. We just need to speak to Him in humility and plainness of language. He will hear us when our words truly come from the heart with the recognition of who it is we are talking to!

The rest of this psalm shows David’s complete confidence in the Lord’s love and power. So confident is David that in verse 7, he speaks as if the Lord had already delivered him from his enemies. He says, “For he hath delivered me out of all trouble…” What assurance is shown in his words! May we also learn to put our complete confidence in the Lord who is ‘our helper’. We have the words of the Apostle John in

1 John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” When we pray in faith, and according to the Lord’s perfect will, He will hear and answer, even as He did with David. (171.4)