Tuesday, June 07, 2022

2022.06.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 54

Read Psalm 54

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom is the Psalm addressed (superscript)? Who penned it? On what occasion? What does he ask for in Psalm 54:1a? By what? What does he ask for in verse 1b? By what? What does he ask for in Psalm 54:2a? In verse2b? Who has done what in Psalm 54:3a? Who have done what in verse 3b? What do the two have in common (verse 3c)? But Who is God to David (Psalm 54:4a)? Whom else does the Lord help (verse 4b)? But what will the Lord do to David’s enemies (Psalm 54:5a)? In what will He cut them off (verse 5b)? In what two ways will David respond to God (Psalm 54:6)? For what two actions, specifically, will he praise (Psalm 54:7)?

What is the benefit of setting God before your eyes? Psalm 54 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the one who is devoted to God’s praise will enjoy deliverances for which to praise Him, but the one who opposes God and His people will be cut off by the faithfulness of God.

God’s Name (Psalm 54:1a) refers to God’s display, communication, declaration of Himself. And when He declares Himself, men suddenly discover that blessing and curse come by beholding God and ignoring God, respectively.

Curse comes by ignoring God. The hostility of the wicked in v3a–b is explained by Psalm 54:3c, “they have not set God before them.” The wicked don’t factor Him into their actions. This is a grave miscalculation, because the One they ignored does not reciprocate by ignoring them. Rather, He repays them for their evil (Psalm 54:5a). They act as if they can get away with it, but are suddenly cut down, because God is faithful to Himself even if they are not mindful of Him (verse 5b). They may lie to themselves about God, but He will show the truth about Himself! 

Blessing comes by beholding God. “they have not set God before them” at the end of Psalm 54:3 is immediately contrasted by “Behold! God! My Helper!” in Psalm 54:4a. Indeed, before faith can detect God’s presence, faith addresses God’s ear (Psalm 54:2). Faith is convinced about God even when it cannot see Him and sure of His answer even before it arrives (cf. Hebrews 11:1). Others who acknowledge God are not hostile to the godly, and the Lord is with them too (Psalm 54:4b). 

Praise is the right response to beholding God. Faith is “bilingual.” It’s first language is prayer, crying out to God (Psalm 54:2). But interaction with Him brings home the purpose for which we exist, and the purpose for which we know He will redeem us: to praise Him. David is still on the run when he pens this Psalm, but his faith “sees” his future deliverance and vindication (Psalm 54:7). So, he responds to God for the very thing he is requesting. Faith does not (must not!) wait for deliverance to arrive before it praises God for it.

Many a believer longs to live a life of prayer and praise. Then let him behold those displays that his God has made of Himself! (especially His Word, which He has exalted above all His Name, cf. Psalm 138:2). 

In what activities and at what times does God especially set Himself before you? What does it look like to behold Him actively in those times? How do you take beholding Him into the rest of your life?

Sample prayer:  Lord, knowing You is eternal life. Beholding You, glorifying You, and enjoying You is our great purpose. All wickedness comes from not setting You before us. So, help us now in Your worship. Set Yourself before us. Make us to behold You and to offer freely the sacrifice of praise to Your good Name for Your great salvation! For we ask it in Your matchless Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP54 “By Your Name, O God” or TPH54 “By Your Name, O God”


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