Monday, June 20, 2016
Waiting On God’s Vengeance
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David, when the Ziphims came and said to Saul, Doth not David hide himself with us?
Tradition ascribes this song to the period of David’s fleeing from Saul in I Samuel 23-26, when the Ziphites repeatedly betrayed him to Saul. They ascribe it as being written especially for the string section of the orchestra.
“Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers are risen up against me, and oppressors seek after my soul: they have not set God before them. Selah.” (Psalm 54:1-3)
Twice during this period, David had opportunity to kill Saul and refused both times because he had been chosen to lead by God. David’s own men were encouraging him to kill Saul, but David insisted on waiting and allowing God to work it out the way he wanted it.
“Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul. He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in thy truth.” (Psalm 54:4-5)
Thanks to the Ziphite’s information, Saul almost captured David, but God caused the Philistines to invade Israel, and Saul was forced to fight them, giving David the opportunity to escape. Both times David refused to kill Saul, Saul was convicted of his sin and temporarily withdrew, but both times he forgot what God had done and tried again. David recognized Saul would continue to try to kill him and asked God to cut him and his followers off to stop them.
“I will freely sacrifice unto thee: I will praise thy name, O LORD; for it is good. For he hath delivered me out of all trouble: and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.” (Psalm 54:6-7)
David could look back on those events and rejoice at how God had repeatedly delivered him from Saul and his enemies. As a result, he would sacrifice and praise God’s name for repeatedly delivering him from every problem.
While the Psalm may be about that period, the last two verses imply that it was not written until after Saul was killed, in I Samuel 31. At the time David became convinced that eventually Saul would capture and execute him, and sought refuge among the Philistines. He was still living among the Philistines when they killed Saul.