The Ziphites

Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.
You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.
Psalm 54:1,7 NIVUK

David is a hunted man, lurking and hiding in the wilderness of Judah. King Saul is after him and there are many opportunists who want to cosy up to Saul to gain his favours. The Ziphites are amongst them and they try and expose David’s location to King Saul, not just once, but on two occasions. And they did this even though they were tribally related to David, but, sadly, they considered him a rebel. Knowing their own territory, they were keeping tabs on David and providing intelligence to Saul about his whereabouts. But as things worked out, one might say they were backing the wrong horse.

Psalm 54 is the record of a part prayer, part chat, part declaration, between David, his Father God and anyone who was listening at the time. David starts in prayer, appealing to God to keep him safe and vindicate his yet to be fulfilled status as Israel’s king, in spite of the grave threats to his life. He then lapses into explaining why he was praying in such a way before finishing the Psalm with a declaration of praise and thanks. Prayers for help to a result in seven verses. Can’t be bad!

Does this Psalm still have validity today? It was written in a lawless society (at least by today’s standards) where a king could do pretty much what he liked. In our Western society, we have much more stability, or so we like to think, but there are still times of peril when God is the only One who can fix things for us. Those calamitous times when we, in our panic and fright, shout out a hurried “Save me” prayer to God, relief flooding in when He answers us. I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have too. But David didn’t write this Psalm on a whim. He wrote it out of a vibrant and personal relationship with his Father in Heaven. And out of that relationship he could say with confidence that God would come through for him. There is no substitute for a life spent in the company of our Creator God. Perhaps time spent with God will lead to a less stressful life, free of perilous situations. Or, more likely, it will lead us through any “valley[s] of the shadow of death” that we encounter, our walk fearlessly accompanied and comforted by the Lord our Shepherd.

So let me ask you a question today. Are you a fearful person worrying that something is waiting to zap you around the next corner, hoping that you will have time to shout out the “Save me” prayer, or are you a person who spends time with God and is confident in His ability to protect you come what may? Hmmm…

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