"O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth." (Psalm 54:2, ESV)
There is a back story to the psalmist’s plea of Psalm 54:2, alluded to in the psalm’s introduction. The inhabitants of Ziph told King Saul where David could be found. This was the time when David had been fleeing from Saul because Saul was actively trying to kill David. Why would the Ziphites of the tribe of Judah support Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, but not support David, from the tribe of Judah? The Ziphites may have simply made a political calculation to side with the more powerful army of King Saul, perhaps leaving David feeling betrayed.
While David had a small army of 600 men, it was a large number considering the logistics of feeding and hiding them all. Reading the account, I sense that God was providing “just in time” help. A little earlier David had received some prophetic guidance saying that he and his men were unsafe in their current location, so they left and kept moving around. Then Jonathan showed up with some encouragement for David. But a short time later, Saul was chasing David on one side of the mountain and David was fleeing on the other. Abruptly, Saul received a message that the Philistines were attacking the land, so he left off chasing David and went to face the Philistines. Whew! Answered prayer.
We could compare our current situation to David’s plight in this account. Today, we live in an age when our world has shrunk. Something like Covid-19 (our King Saul equivalent) comes along and hops over oceans and infects our people. It is invisible, powerful, kills the compromised and may be damaging those who recover. Covid is no respecter of persons. We have a real crisis. What do we do?
Let’s follow the example of David: he prayed. In verse 1 of our Psalm, David related salvation to God’s “name.” It was like saying, “O Yahweh, save me.” God save me. Today, we say, “Jesus, save me.” It is to Him we turn in our time of trouble. We might thoughtfully read, “O Jesus, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.” I find it interesting that David called on God to “hear” his prayer and in subsequent verses speaks with the assumption that God was listening and God would help. When we call on the Lord, we can assume the same, that he is listening, and he will help.
Another Covid-era lesson we could learn from David’s attitude in Psalm 54 has to do with something our Lord taught the disciples about forgiveness in Matthew 6:5-15. David offered a sacrifice in God’s name for his deliverance in 54:6-7. Today we might consider taking action against our “enemy” in God’s name by sacrificially forgiving those who sin against us, like when people are hoarding, defying health laws, and taking advantage of others. I was offended, for example, when I was told I was “gringo” so I must be spreading Covid! I find this to be one of the most challenging spiritual warfare weapons to master. I’m still working on forgiving my enemies. How about you? We can ask God to hear our plea for help in the area of forgiveness. He will give ear to that as well.
The Union Church of Guatemala
Leaders & Church Staff
Dr. Ralph Porter
Women's Ministry President