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What to do when people are out to get you
Psalm 54

To begin today's lesson I'd like to read to you from 1 Samuel 23:14-29. This passage takes us back to the time before David became king over Israel.

David had been anointed by the prophet Samuel as the next king, but Saul (whom God had rejected for his disobedience) was still king and not willing to just hand over the reins to David. To the contrary, Saul hated David and wanted him dead. For 7 years Saul chased David around trying to kill him. In the end Saul died in a battle with the Philistines (enemies of Israel) and David became king just as God ordained. However, the path to God's word coming to pass was really rough.

I Samuel 23:14-29 takes us back to a day when David, because of an act of betrayal, came within a whisker of being killed by Saul. I'm going to read this because in Psalm 54, which we are going to study this morning, David reflects on this event.

READ 1 SAMUEL 23:14-29

Couple of things to note:

-The Ziphites were of the tribe of Judah. They were of the same tribe of David and should have been loyal to David
- In regards to Saul blessing the Ziphites in the name of God; It's really amazing how people can get so messed up that they actually think they are serving God when in fact they are doing evil. FYI: JESUS says this to his disciples in John 16:2 when he tells them of the cost of following him; "They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
-God did an amazing miracle that day! It wasn't because of David's strength, wisdom, or abilities that he escaped- it was all God. It's always good to be reminded of who are deliverer is and that God does miracles

Now that we've read 1 Samuel 23:14-29 and have some back story in mind we can go to Psalm 54.

Psalm 54

-Part of 4 Psalms in a row called Maskils (songs of reflection)
-A Psalm of David tied to a specific event (not all of the Psalms are of David or tied to specific events)
-A Psalm that addresses the betrayal and threat that David faced that day and what he did about it.

READ PSALM 54

LESSONS OF THE TEXT

1. When trouble comes our way we are to pray! v.1-2

When David got the news that he had been betrayed by the Ziphites and when he saw Saul's army approaching, what did he do? He prayed! He cried out to God for help. He committed his situation to the Lord and then he did his part- he started running.

On the subject of prayer

Philippians 4:6 says; "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God"

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says; "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Luke 18:1 says; "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up."

What's your situation? Are you praying about it?

A few pointers to prayer

-Remember as a child of God that He loves you
-Be respectful
-Seek the will of God
-Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you
-Be careful as it regards trying to make a deal with God
-Be patient
-Try fasting and prayer together(Christian fasting is intentionally going without for a set period of time as a sign of devotion and being set apart to God in the seeking of His face. It's about Him)
-Deal with any sin that stands in the way. I Peter 3:7 says; "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."

2. Remember: Our only true resource and help is God. TRUST GOD! v.3

Psalm 20:7 "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."

Though we know it well, it bears repeating: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

3. When betrayed, mistreated, and unjustly handled, don't take matters into your own hands, leave vengeance and to God. v.5

I find David's prayer of v.5 to be quite interesting "Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them"

The image of "let evil recoil" on those who slander me reminds me of a big elastic band that instead of hitting the person you are aiming at snapping back and hitting the shooter instead. That's called justice.

While telling us how he feels, it is important to note that David leaves the matter of vengeance to God -----1 Samuel 24 bears this out when David has a chance to kill Saul who had gone into a cave to go to the washroom- the same cave David was hiding in. David could have struck him dead, after rebuking his men for the idea he then confronted Saul and said " May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, 'From evildoers come evil deeds,' so my hand will not touch you." 1 Samuel 24:12-13

Some application for us

Our first response when we are wronged is to strike back, to retaliate, to get even. This is sin.

Our second response is also sin: brooding, harboring bitterness, nurturing resentment towards the person

When it comes to evil done against us, God is just, He knows what to do, He will take care of it in His time and in His way.

Another thing we must factor in: Sometimes the people who have hurt us are going to become followers of Jesus, sometimes they already are followers of Jesus. We have to learn to forgive along the way.

In Romans 12:19 it says; "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord."

4. Give God the glory and praise due his name v.5-6

When God answers our prayers we are to give him praise and thanks.

No matter what happens we are to give God the glory

We to be determined in our praise. As we learned last week from Psalm 44:8 "We will praise your name forever"

As we read earlier in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says; "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

"I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you.."

-interesting how David mentions he going to bring a special gift expressing his gratitude to God
-In a day when we struggle with the idea of tithing and giving, here's David saying "I'm bringing something over and above which reflects my joy and thanks to God
-On a personal note I have seen Christians do this over the years. It's kinda cool!

We have much to thank the Lord for

-His love
-His supply of our needs
-His comforts and care
-His protection
-Our life
-The beauty of the created order
-People he puts into our lives
-That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
-For the forgiveness of sins
-That Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us
-That God knows best

Sometimes we are going to struggle with being thankful. Sometimes we like to insert the word "But" it expressions of thanks- which really takes away from the whole idea. We need to persist for not only is God worthy of our thanks, but it's also really good for us- for gratitude and joy go together.

CLOSING SONG: To God be the glory