There are few feelings to compare with having your life threatened. The victim of a hold up while working retail during college, I can understand in a very small way what some have felt often. It can produce a piercing sensation that reaches down deep within, challenging your purpose, your direction, and your preparation. In those moments you must come to grips with the distance between what your priorities are and what they should be. But most of all, you simply feel helpless and alone. But you have Someone who can help, and that is the real key to get through not only threats to your life and their aftermath, but all of life itself.
David had more than his share of peril throughout his life. From the early dangers he faced serving as a shepherd for his father to the violence he encountered on the battlefield to the persecution he faced at the hand of Saul, David knew from an early age what it felt like to have his life threatened. The loneliness and helplessness that such circumstances naturally created must have been tremendous. Even when you have friends and family that support you, feeling like you have a target on your back has an isolating effect that few can imagine. When David was running from Saul, he sought refuge in an isolated area among the Ziphites only to have those people report his presence to the king. When he spotted Saul and learned how his location had been revealed, it must have been frustrating and frightening. Yet, this occasion provided the backdrop for reflection when he penned Psalm 54. Rather than panic, he trusted in God to deliver Him (Psa. 54:1), listen to him (Psa. 54:2), and save him from the treachery of the Ziphites (Psa. 54:3). He then penned these words, “Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life” (Psa. 54:4). This perspective, a perspective that had confidence in victory because of God (Psa. 54:5), confidence in God’s goodness (Psa. 54:6), and confidence in deliverance because of faith (Psa. 54:7), is the mindset that offers peace in the midst of turmoil and serenity in the midst of life’s storms.
This was no blind expectation or self-delusion. David’s faith was justified entirely. In this instance he even had opportunity to take Saul’s life but refused to do so…because of the same faith that expressed confidence in deliverance. Had he struck Saul himself, he would have violated a principle of respect for the LORD’s anointed, and his faith trusted that God would provide the way, knowing that killing Saul himself was not in accord with the Lord’s will. God is our helper, but His help will come in His way according to His will. Therefore, our faith must be strong enough not only to trust in the possibility of deliverance, but to trust God’s means as well. All of us will face times of turmoil and peril. We may even have enemies who make our lives extremely difficult. But even if our problems stem from health issues or economic woes or persecution on the job, David’s answer is still our answer: God is our helper. When we have that thought firmly planted in our soul, the greatest attack Satan may bring will not put a dent in our faith.