Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thanks and Praise for Unexpected Deliverance

[To the chief Musician on Neg’inoth, Maskil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphim came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?]

1 Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.

2 Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.

3 For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.

4 Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

5 He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.

6 I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good.

7 For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

—Psalm 54 KJV Bible

This is a psalm of David. In the song, David reflects on the treachery of the Ziphites, who informed Saul that David was hiding among them, as told in 1 Samuel 23. David prays to God for deliverance from his enemies and praises God for the answer.

The psalm superscription states that this is a “maskil”—Hebrew, meaning “a hedge.” In the context of the psalms, it is thought to mean either a contemplative or teaching psalm, or a psalm written in a clever way. Thirteen psalms are described as "maskils." they include 32, 42, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89 and 142.

The superscription also states it is to be performed on "Neg’inoth." This Hebrew expression is interpreted as "stringed instruments." this direction is used in Psalm 4, 6, 54, 55, 61, 67, and 76.

In verses 1 through 3, David asks God for deliverance from his enemies. Since no one else believes him, David asks God to judge him, confirm David's innocence in this situation and supernaturally intercede for David.

The Hebrew "selah" is used after verses 3 of the psalm. The word is thought to be a musical notation to the choir director and musicians. It loosely translates as a break in the song or an instruction to pause and reflect, perhaps with a musical interlude. Some translators suggest the phrase "stop and listen." Others say that a more concise translation would be "let those with eyes see and with ears hear." The word "selah" has been compared to the word "amen" in that it stresses to the listener the importance of the preceding passage. The word "selah" is used in thirty-nine of the psalms.

In verses 4 through 7, David praises God for answered prayer. As recounted in 1 Samuel 23:26-28, Saul had David nearly surrounded when Saul received word of a raid by the Philistines. When Saul and his troupes left to repel the Philistines, David was able to escape. Here we see God using unexpected events to accomplish David's request; to deliver David and to repay evil to Saul for the evil done against David. In response, David vows to thank God with sacrifices and with praise.

Father, when I feel the world building up against me, remind me that You are there. Though I may not see how it will come, remind me that you are able to deliver me. Whatever may come, I thank You and I praise You.


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