For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. Psalm 54:7
God delivers; there is no other. God is the Lawgiver from whom we have our Law, therefore, there is no better Deliverer from the wrath brought by our failure to keep God’s Law. We sing this psalm as an answer to prayer. Because of God’s redemptive work we are brought out of the mire of sin and temptation to look triumphantly at what God has done.
The Ziphites appeared in the subscript of verse one and we must still remember them as the example of enemies we face. There is something profound about the writing of this psalm and the fact Ziphites are not the whole or even descriptive subject. David writes of enemies and trouble, in so doing he does not name or vilify another human. How often are your prayers laced with the material of your petitions, problems, and distractions? Contrariwise, how often are you actively describing and worshiping God in spite of the things for which you are desiring his attention? David does not use his prayer as a means to lament over the Ziphites or glorify them through condemnation. David ascribes worship to God and in the midst of recognizing who God is, he can then justify the triumph of God over those who “do not set You before themselves.” Spend less time on what you assume and more time on who is worshiped. By coming to a greater knowledge of who God is, by meditating on his revealed words and attributes, you can place yourself in a right perspective, grow in your faith, and be rightly examined and refortified against the things that cause your vision of God to be hindered. The Ziphites changed the context of David’s worship, they did not change the content. Don’t let the Ziphites in your life change the content of your worship. God has delivered you already by the blood of Jesus Christ who calls you as his own and gives you the eyes to read his Word; the Word that tells of the triumph over your enemy.
Charles Spurgeon once quipped, “we are never so holy or so happy as when our adoration of God abounds.” So we see in the example of David, even prior to his assured deliverance, the poet is struck with adoration toward God right there in his cave.While the threats we face may be real and the seeming injustices serve as evidence we might as well surrender to the world, the promise of our Deliverer is that our present circumstances are temporary and useful… just as the furnace is for precious stones. We are called to pray with the confidence of David. Our holiness and joy is singly found in adoration (the outburst of trust and faith) of God. We praise his name alone because his name contains all of the attributes our position necessitates. The name of the LORD will be praised. The deliverance of Jesus isour surety beyond all circumstance.
When we focus ourselves upon who God is our enemies grow pettier and pettier. We, in trusting God at his Word, begin to see with a supernatural perspective, that is, not according to our eyes but the eyes of faith in God’s inconceivable nature. William Plumer considers David, “Although his enemies were almost upon him, yet he had seen them marching away. No doubt David beheld this retreat with joy. As at the time he probably knew not the motive of his persecutors’ retreat, it must have been very marvelous in his eyes; and not less so when he duly reflected upon the cause of the sudden change in Saul’s movements.” David witnessed something foreign to his own logic, yet did not discard the lesson. Often when things go a different way than we had planned, even good and pleasant things, we do not consider it to be a work of God. It would have been easy to think the Ziphite group simply disbanded or retreated because they changed their minds, but that does not make sense in light of the psalm. God’s providence was the lesson for David. Prayer, for David, was successful in focusing the poet on who God is and how God works. Perhaps it wasn’t so much that the enemy retreated as it was God raising his sheep above those fierce wolves, to the refuge no shadow could darken.
Let’s consider the specific structure of the verse as a means to pray:
- For he has delivered me – O LORD you are my deliverer. You have personally brought me and bought me with your own hand. The implications of your redeeming me is that I have a union with you, so strong, that your characteristics are what shape and hold me. Because you are steadfast and omnipotent I can trust that nothing can separate me from your deliverance.
- from every trouble,– There is no sin, trial, demon, man, or accusation from which I am not delivered by your grace. Jesus, Messiah, every trouble is washed away when I am justified by you.
- and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.– I praise you for your victory. Wrath has not, is not, will not ever be poured upon me because you have drained the cup. I pray the trials and circumstances I face will be met with resolute perspective; “surely this is a small thing compared to what victory I have been given in Christ Jesus, my Lord.” You gifted your triumph on to me, because of your love.
Brothers and sisters, your eyes will one day see complete triumph. This triumph is complete already in Christ; the devil and his schemes can bring about no victory for he is defeated already, his head crushed, the Son of David slew the father of Goliath. Yet we as earthly vessels live and move in the domain of sin and darkness. We need faith-eyes to see the meanest hint of victory. Our subconscious minds work as enemies who are still on the field of battle unaware of our immanent vanquishing. By regeneration we come to hope in the LORD’s triumph; we are assured how soon we will actually see with our own eyes the glory of God’s throne, which is the doom and end of all dark domains. There is no future in the field of battle nor is there future for sin, all is passed under the Lamb. His footstool offers no respite for enemies to wage their war again. Delivered creatures see with wide eyes their troubles overcome. The triumph is God’s, his hand has upheld his church and by grace’s implication there is not a scent of tyranny that could tear us from his sovereign hand. To be sovereign is to be not else, to be sovereign is to be simple, to be sovereign is to have no other alike. Therefore, what could possibly stand against our Triune God? Surely his triumph sealed to me is a victory worthy of praise as no other praise has ever been given. Surely even those enemies will bow at the outcome of Christ’s perfect victory. If he were to mark iniquities who could stand?
What useless words these Ziphites speak! “Oh predator here is your prey!” Soon they will know the absolute nature of God’s just hand. Soon they will cower at the prospect of their own words. Those in God’s hand are saved with astounding grace and their security is unquenchably eternal. Give praise to God today for the relationship declared to you by the name of Jesus Christ. We are his and we are saved.
Pastor Chris Osterbrock
All Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
William S. Plumer, Studies in the Book of Psalms: Being a Critical and Expository Commentary, with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on the Entire Psalter (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Co., 1872), 576.