I stink at this journey. OK, sorry – I’m getting ahead of myself. Do me a favor and please read Psalm 54.
We read in 1 Sam 23:14-29 that David was hiding out in fear of his life from Saul and his army who were trying to kill him and that in this place he was hiding at were men who turned out to be actual traitors. David had lost the favor of King Saul because Saul knew that he would be overthrown as king and that God had intended David to take the throne from him (we see this even from Jonathan, David’s son, as he makes a covenant with David to watch and protect him BECAUSE he knows that he will be king). So what does the king do when he sees his kingdom pulled from him? Go after the threat himself.
The battle between Saul (who was king) and David is played out for quite some time. Numerous times David had an opportunity to kill Saul and end this cat and mouse hunt – but David never does. He loved Saul and understood that God’s favor was with him and that it was God who anointed him King of Israel – even if God’s favor had left him now.
Psalm 54 is a very short prayer of David that speaks of an immediate need now (verses 1-3), a proclamation of God’s help and strength (verses 4-5) and a promise of deliverance and the joy that will be had and proclaimed when God does deliver (verses 6-7). It’s very simple in its layout and it’s meant to get right to the point. David is so confident that God will keep him alive and protect him that he simply promises to praise God with a “freewill offering” once this is all done.
I really appreciate how short this psalm is because, to me, the “to-the-pointness” that it has matches the feeling I personally would have if I was hiding amongst those who sought my head. I would be on my toes, quick with words and actions – with everything being to the point. And obviously through it all I would be praying to God for his protection and guidance while at the same time confidently proclaiming the joy I know when it’s all said-and-done. So to me this psalm matches the thought-process David COULD have been in.
David knows that God is watching over him and that God’s faithfulness will never be broken. That God has promised David that he would be anointed King (1 Sam 16) and obviously if Saul is still king than David’s time has not yet come…but it will. David knows that he has done nothing wrong and so his request for “vindication” (to clear one’s name or remove any blame or suspicion) is justified. Simply put – David knows that God protects and has a plan for him – and NOTHING will thwart any plan of Gods.
I think it’s often difficult for us to relate to biblical people in instances like this. If you are anything like me than you simply have never heard a clear-cut call or word from God that leads us down the right path, affirms the direction God is taking us, or simply speaks clearly to what we are needed and required to do. And so it CAN be difficult to relate to David who clearly has been told THIS IS WHAT WHO YOU WILL BECOME and God has clearly told him that he “will make a covenant” with him (2 Sam 7). I’ve said this numerous times throughout these psalm reflections – how much easier life would be if God simply told me his plan for me!
HOWEVER – even though we may have never had the voice of God speak directly to us doesn’t mean he doesn’t – nor does it mean that God doesn’t have a plan for us or that he won’t protect us.
I think we often mistake the lack of “clear direction” from God as a lack of love from God or even a lack of input from him…but that simply isn’t the case. I’ve tried to stick to 700-900 words in each of these psalm blogs and I could easily fill up that space with promises, affirmations, loves, desires, hopes, and guidance that scripture gives us. Words that build us up and are to lead us each and every day. Words that the Holy Spirit affirms are what we need each and every day. These words ARE CLEAR and give us direction – clear direction. You and I are the ones that muddy them up and fail to listen clearly.
So what’s the problem (outside of my bad listening skills)?
The problem is that I am actually wanting MORE. The problem, if I’m truly honest with myself, is that for all the trust I proclaim that I have in God I’m really not as trusting as I proclaim. And honestly I don’t know why because time and time again God’s word has been true, on target, and exactly what I needed WHEN I needed it. So really, I have no excuse. I simply stink at this journey.
Maybe that’s exactly what we need to see here – in that no matter what the situation we find ourselves in (like David here when these men betrayed him to Saul) we seek, through prayer and guidance, God’s protection but also an affirmation that when it’s all said and done we will praise him and give thanks for what he is doing. Maybe I need to stop worrying about what or where – but be comfortable in the knowledge (which I do have) that REGARDLESS of what happens I will praise God yet again and give thanks for his love, protection, grace, and work in my life.
This is still a journey for me – even as a pastor. And it’s a long journey in which I am continuously learning…so God be patient with me! (yes, that is part of my prayer).