For the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A contemplation by David, when the Ziphites came and said to Saul, “Isn’t David hiding himself among us?”
1 Save me, God, by your name.
Vindicate me in your might.
2 Hear my prayer, God.
Listen to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers have risen up against me.
Violent men have sought after my soul.
They haven’t set God before them.
4 Behold, God is my helper.
The Lord is the one who sustains my soul.
5 He will repay the evil to my enemies.
Destroy them in your truth.
6 With a free will offering, I will sacrifice to you.
I will give thanks to your name, YHWH, for it is good.
7 For he has delivered me out of all trouble.
My eye has seen triumph over my enemies.
World English Bible
When do you thank God for his help?
In the midst of life’s pressures, there is little time for prayer, especially those of thanksgiving. Sometimes life can be so hectic we need to slow down and open our eyes to the wonders God places before us. Even if we take a sliver of our day, we need to refocus on the greater picture and thank God for his activity in our lives.
Psalm 54 has such a sliver of thanks. Read in the light of the prelude, the body of the psalm covered the tribulation of David’s life on the run, yet the sentiments expressed could be anyone’s. The prayer began with a call for help for salvation: “Save me from my evil enemies.” (54:1-3).
After the break in the psalm (the unknown term “Selah”), the theme changed from salvation desired to salvation realized. Yes, troubles might have dogged the psalmist, but YHWH would quickly redeem him. That belief was so certain, the author could make a free-will offering and shout thanksgiving. (54:6) Victory was at hand!
One could argue that the desperation of 54:1-3 was counter balanced by the upbeat spirit of 54:4-7. More likely, the later part of the psalm answered the author’s pleas. In other words, troubles challenge us to reaffirm faith through prayers of thanks, not to wallow in our misery.
Thanksgiving should be a daily prayer activity, despite the depth of problems we find ourselves mired in. Such prayers help us realized that God is present and active in our lives. Such prayer help realized that our salvation is at hand and, in some ways, already here.
Take time to thank God for his goodness. How does this prayer make you aware of his presence in your life? How does this prayer change your outlook on the day?