Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Vengeance Is the Lord’s (Psalm 54)

"Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your strength" (Psalm 54:1).

David composed Psalm 54 during one of the most dangerous times in his life. As Saul sought to kill him, David and his men fled to Horesh in the Desert of Ziph (1 Sam. 23–24). Obsessed with capturing David, Saul was determined to discover his hiding place. In an effort to win the king’s favor, the Ziphites went to Saul in Gibeah and told him that David was hiding among them and that they could hand him over to the king. Saul ironically said, “The LORD bless you for your concern for me. Go and make further preparation” (1 Sam. 23:21–22). With their plan to betray David set in motion, the Ziphites went ahead of Saul in the desert to find David. Once they discovered his hiding place, Saul immediately took up pursuit.

At one point, David’s only recourse was to hide in a cave. Saul’s forces of three thousand men were closing in on him. David and his men were probably frightened, tired, and hungry from traveling. Then an amazing thing happened. While they were hiding in the cave, Saul himself stepped into the darkened entrance to relieve himself. Here was David’s chance to get rid of the man who had been shamelessly pursuing him. Despite urgings from his men, who said God had given Saul into his hands, David refused to strike down his king. Instead, he clipped the hem of Saul’s cloak. When Saul stepped from the cave, David revealed himself, testifying to Saul that he intended no harm to his king.

David refrained from taking vengeance into his own hands because he trusted that the Lord would vindicate him. He would not cast a shadow on his own integrity by raising a finger against Saul. He knew God would rightly judge and avenge the wrongs Saul had done to him. Even though strangers, the Ziphites, had risen up against him and enemies surrounded him, he remained steadfast in looking to God for help and trusting that He alone would repay these people for their evil. David would not vindicate himself by killing Saul; he relied on God not his own strength. David said to Saul, “Therefore, let the LORD be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand” (1 Sam. 24:15).

Have you ever taken vengeance into your own hands? What was the result? Was this honoring to God? What is the difference between bringing someone to justice and seeking vengeance? Ask God to help you trust that He will vindicate you from whatever enemies you may have.