May 14: Psalm 54

May 14: Psalm 54

The God who saves

87.87 D                     Beach Spring, p. 170
Restoration/Pleading Savior (both tunes for Come, ye Sinners)
Beecher (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling), p. 149

By Your name, O God, now save me; grant me justice by Your might.

To these words of mine give answer; hear my prayers, O God of light.

Strangers have come up against me, violent men against me fight

And they seek my life’s destruction; God is not within their sight.

See how God has been my helper, how my Lord sustains my soul:

To my foes He pays back evil—in Your truth destroy them all!

I will sacrifice with gladness; and Your name, O Lord, will praise.

He has saved me from all trouble; o’er my foes my eyes has raised.

We Christians, of course, know that the historical David was himself a prefiguration, a living prophecy, of the true King yet to come, and we believe that the divine promises made with respect to David’s messianic throne are fulfilled in the Kingdom of Jesus, at once David’s descendant and his Lord. Following the lead of Jesus Himself (Luke 24:44), we interpret the psalms in the light – the theological light – of this fulfillment of biblical prophecy. We come to the psalms completely with what Paul called “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). Our interest in the psalms, or indeed in any part of the Bible, is a Christian interest. As we pray in the church liturgy, “You are our God, and we know no other than You.” Psalm 54 may serve to illustrate this interpretive principle. The title or inscription at the head of this psalm describes it with reference to an incident in the life of David, which sends us to 1 Samuel 23:14-20 for the context. This is a psalm about betrayal. The assiduous reader of the Gospel, therefore, should have no great trouble recognizing the correct interpretive setting of this psalm, or discerning the “voice” that prays it. This is a psalm properly understood from within “the mind of Christ,” for it describes both His anguish at the betrayal that sent Him to suffering and death, and His full assurance of final vindication in the paschal glory. (Reardon, p. 105-106)

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