by Charles R. Swindoll
The final verse of Psalm 54 describes a sudden reversal. The first verses describe a dire situation, prompting David to plead for God's help. By verse 7, his despondency has turned to triumph. His declaration, "He has delivered me from all trouble," is past tense. Hebrew literature often uses the perfect tense to declare a future event "as good as done." David doesn't know how or when God will act on his behalf; nevertheless, he writes with complete confidence,
For He has delivered me from all trouble,
And my eye has looked with satisfaction upon my enemies. (54:7)
According to 1 Samuel 23:26–29, God intervened to protect David from his enemies.
Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was hurrying to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men to seize them. But a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid on the land." So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to meet the Philistines; therefore they called that place the Rock of Escape. David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi.
Suddenly, perhaps as soon as David said, "I will give thanks to Your name, O LORD, for it is good" (Psalm 54:6), the enemy turned tail for home, removing the threat of immediate danger. Furthermore, David said his eye could now look "upon my enemies" (54:7). The NASB inserts the phrase "with satisfaction" to bring clarity to this Hebrew idiom. David's choice of words reflects a man without bitterness. He could look his enemies squarely in the eyes without malice or resentment. He had released them to God and God had dealt with them in His own sovereign, perfect way.
Let's declare war on those longstanding habits we cultivate against others—negative feelings, unforgiveness, resentment, competitiveness, grudges, jealousy, revenge, hatred, retaliation, gossip, criticism, and suspicion. Let's leave this rugged, ugly, well-worn road forever! The only alternative route to take is love. The longer I live and the more time I spend with the Lord (and with others), the more I am driven back to the answer to most people's problems: sincere, Spirit-empowered, undeserved love. It's called living by grace. Once Christ is in full focus, it's amazing how powerful love can be!
How beautifully Amy Carmichael reminds us of this in her small but penetrating book, If.
If I belittle those whom I am called to serve, talk of their weak points in contrast perhaps with what I think of as my strong points; if I adopt a superior attitude, forgetting "Who made thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou hast not received?" then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If I take offense easily, if I am content to continue in a cool unfriendliness, though friendship be possible, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
If I feel bitter towards those who condemn me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.1
Amy Carmichael, If (London: S.P.C.K.; Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1938), 13, 44, 471.
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission. All rights reserved.