To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, ” Is not David hiding among us?”(Introduction to Psalm 54)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We’re already familiar with the jealousy and murderous actions of King Saul’s attempts to take the life of David. Psalm 54, the Introit for tomorrow, was written by King David during this same period, when he was in hiding from the murderous rage of Saul, and was betrayed by Ziphites who told the King his whereabouts.
Like David, you may have experienced betrayal. It’s a terrible, hurtful experience. All kinds of emotions arise; from confusion and sadness, to hurt and anger, to fear and doubt. Psalm 54 gives voice to these emotions and helps us to commend our circumstances to God. David prays, telling God of his situation: “Strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life” (Psalm 54:3). He prays for God’s help: “O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might” (Psalm 54:1). He expresses his trust that God will make things right: “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them” (Psalm 54:4-5). And finally, he remembers how God has delivered and helped him in the past: “For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies” (Psalm 54:7).
David couldn’t have known how his prayer would perfectly parallel the experience of his descendant Jesus. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, with a kiss. He was abandoned by the rest of His disciples in His time of need. He was betrayed by His own people who shouted, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” But His trust in the Father never wavered. Perhaps He even prayed this psalm that day. God vindicated Him by raising Him from the dead, and now He stands in triumph over all His enemies. If you have been betrayed, look to Christ who was betrayed for you. See in His Cross and resurrection the embodiment of God’s faithfulness to you. Take upon your lips the words of Psalm 54, commending yourself to God. And know that your faith in Christ will be vindicated on the Last Day. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family from whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Good Friday)
-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Christians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.