Which one are you?
By Don Ruhl
Are you a God-hater or a God-lover? You cannot take a neutral position. You can know which one you are by listening to David in Psalm 54.
To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Contemplation of David when the Ziphites went and said to Saul, “Is David not hiding with us?” (Psa 54.0) When you help people and they turn against you that hurts, but when God delivers you from them, that is a reason to rejoice. David had just such experiences. First Samuel 23 shows two sad times during the days when David fled for his life from Saul. David heard that the Philistines fought against Keilah, which was 18 miles, as the bird flies, southwest of Jerusalem, and robbed the threshing floors of Keilah. “And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah” (1Sa 23.5).
When Saul discovered where David was, Saul went after him. Then watch what the people of Keilah intended to do, “Then David said, ‘O LORD God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.’ And the LORD said, ‘He will come down.’ Then David said, ‘Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?’ And the LORD said, ‘They will deliver you’” (1Sa 23.10–12).
It is astonishing that they were so ungrateful toward David and God. Even as David could fight the Philistines and if Keilah joined him, they could have easily held off Saul and his army, because God was on David’s side, which Keilah should have been able to see.
From there, David fled to the Wilderness of Ziph, which was over 12 miles southeast of Keilah, as the clouds move. The people there also knew that God was with David, nevertheless, they feared Saul, just as Keilah did and listen to what the Ziphites did, “Then the Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, ‘Is David not hiding with us in strongholds in the woods, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon? Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hand’” (1Sa 23.19, 20).
David would have done anything for a city or village in Israel. Remember that the reason David fought Goliath was because Goliath defied the armies of Israel.
When David went to fight the Philistines at Keilah, his men objected initially, but David sought God’s counsel again, and He told David that he would win against the Philistines. He risked rebellion from his own army, but in his mind the people of God were under attack and David needed to fight for them. He would have fought against Saul at Keilah and Ziph, simply because they were God’s people, whereas Saul would have killed them if they did not help him.
Sometimes God’s people fight those who fight for them and support those who fight against them! Who do you support and who do you oppose?
Psalm 54.1, 2
Seeking the Right Help
1, 2 Save me, O God, by Your name… With only one exception in his life, David always knew where his strength was, and so every time he sought the Lord. The King of Israel sought David. The Philistines wanted David dead. In his own homeland, he could not find safety. What do you do in situations like that? What do you do in troubling economic times? Do what David always did and what he did in this psalm; he prayed to God, pleading for Him to hear David’s prayer, asking God to give ear to the words of David’s mouth.
Verse 2 should fascinate us, because we look at prayer as an easy thing that is always available to us. Yet, listen to David’s plea to God. David did not see prayer as a right, but a privilege. He knew God was not obligated to answer prayer, but David needed God.
3 For strangers have risen up against me… While the Ziphites and the Keilahites were David’s brethren, they acted like strangers, like foreigners, because they had risen up against him. Rather than supporting and encouraging him, they oppressed him, sought his life to get rid of him, because they were willing to turn him over to Saul. What was wrong with those Israelites? David showed their problem in the last line of verse 3. They had not set God before their eyes. You can know who the people are who have not set God before them. This is even true if you speak of God’s people, whether Israelites then or Christians now. The God-haters do not support God’s fighters. The God-haters fight against the God-lovers. If you see someone fighting God’s fighters, it does not matter how much those oppressors say they love God, they do not, if they fail to defend and fight for God’s fighters. As David then wrote at the very end of verse 3, “Selah.” Pause and think on that for a moment.
Why are the liberal and secular forces in America turning against Christianity? They have not set God before them. This is even true of those who say they are conservative and believe in God. If they are in the church, but fail to support God’s fighters, members of the church have put themselves on the wrong side.
4 Behold, God is my helper… So, even if the Philistines sought David, and Saul pursued him relentlessly, and the Israelites failed to support him, David knew where his help was. God was David’s helper. In Psalm 27.1–3, you can catch the spirit of David. Just listen to him lift his spirit in the Lord regardless of the troubles he faced. Even if someone is not after you, you might still be troubled by what you hear the economy doing. Brethren, remember where your faith is. It should be in the God of David, not in the power, might, and wealth of the United States.
David had another thing to add in Psalm 54. Look at the second line of verse 4. The Lord was not only with David who fought the battles of the Lord, but the Lord is with those who uphold the God-lovers. Do you want the Lord to be with you? Then sustain the souls of God-lovers and you can identify the God-lovers by looking for those who fight God’s wars. This shows that David not only focused on those who failed to support him, but he remembered those who helped him.
5 He will repay my enemies for their evil… David would not take personal vengeance upon his enemies, because he knew that God would repay them for their evil. He knew that God would cut them off in His truth. God’s truth convicts the God-haters. Spend time in God’s truth as David did, which is how he knew what God would do! In God’s truth, revealed in the Scriptures, He has already revealed what He shall do to our enemies. Believe it and trust Him to do what needs to be done. Therefore, in Romans 12, Paul taught against personal vengeance and that we should stand back and let God do what He does, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Rom 12.19). Do you believe that the Lord shall repay? Then speak with confidence the words of David in Psalm 54.5.
Psalm 54.6, 7
6, 7 I will freely sacrifice to You… Always remember to thank God when He has delivered you out of trouble. The trouble is we find ourselves in situations that are beyond our capabilities to overcome. So, in desperation we pray to God. He gives what we want. Happy with our lives after the deliverance, we go on our merry way and forget to sacrifice to God. It is not merely thanking Him, but we sacrifice to Him. Some people readily thank Him to avoid giving up something. However, giving up something shows the thankfulness of our hearts and lips. Do not forget to make a sacrifice, whether it be time, money, or effort. Sacrificing cannot substitute for praising His name. Some people will do any sacrifice to avoid praising God by worshiping Him. Commit your life to Him, and part of that is attendance at the public worship of the church.
David revealed in verse 7 why he sacrificed to God and why he praised the good name of Yahweh. First, because God delivered David out of all his troubles. Second, because David saw his desire upon his enemies.
Psalm 54 shows why in a battle between God-haters and God-lovers, the God-lovers always win. Psalm 54 showed God-lovers:
- First, placing God before them in prayer.
- Second, confessing God as their help.
- Third, having confidence in God to deal with their enemies.
- Fourth, praising God for the good He does for them.
What about you? Do you place God before you in prayer? Do you believe God is your helper? Do you give place to the wrath of God? Do you praise God for the good He does? Do you support or fight God’s fighters? You cannot claim neutrality. Neutrality takes the side of those fighting God’s fighters.
Does your life show that you have been a God-hater or a God-lover? If a God-hater, repent and obey right now. If a God-lover, God shall bless you mightily. Remember that Jesus is our David. Stand with Him and for Him.
- Psalms 54. A prayer for protection from enemies. Answered prayer for deliverance from adversaries (bummyla.wordpress.com)
- God and the Atheist (thebiblemeditator.wordpress.com)