The Psalms of David

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 The Story of Psalm 54

Saul wanted to kill David. David went to Ziph to hide from Saul. Ziph was near where David’s family lived. David gave help to the people of Ziph to fight their enemies. The enemies were the Philistines. But the men of Ziph *betrayed David. This means that they told Saul where David was. This was wrong because:

   ·    David had given them help

   ·    David was one of their tribe (a tribe is *like a big family).

A snake is an animal. In the Bible, it is often a picture of Satan. Satan is God’s great enemy. When Jesus called people "snakes", he meant that they were friends of Satan. "A snake in the grass" is an enemy that you think is a friend. The men of Ziph were *like this with David.

What Psalm 54 means

The important word (or key word) in the psalm is name. In verse 1 we read "because of your name". This means "because of all that your name means". What does God’s name mean? It means many things, but one is that he will give help to his servants. In verses 6 and 7 we find the name again. But now it is different!

In verses 1 - 3 David is asking for help because of God’s name. In verses 4 - 7 David has received God’s help, so he *praises God’s name.

Something to do

1.    Find as many names for God as you can. Does each one tell you something different about God?

2.   Read the story of what happened in 1 Samuel 23:1-15. In 1 Samuel, Ziph becomes Keilah, one of the towns in the *wilderness of Ziph. A *wilderness is a wild place where there are not many farms.

*Betraying a Friend

Psalm 55

Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you *betraying the Son of man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:48) ("Betray" means "tell someone’s enemies everything about them".)

Psalm 55

        (This is) for the music leader.
   (He must use) *musical instruments.
   (It is) a *maskil for David.

v1      God, listen to my *prayer.
     Do not turn away when I cry for *mercy.

v2      Hear me and answer me.
     I cannot sleep because of my trouble. I am very *unhappy

v3      because of what my enemies say. They give me a lot of pain.
     And they are so angry that they *hate and make trouble for me.

v4      My *heart is jumping inside me.
     And all the fear of death is on every side of me.

v5      Great fear and *shaking have come to me.
     They are all over me.

v6      So I said, "I would like to fly away as a bird.
     Then I would find *peace.

v7      Yes! I would go far away and live in a wild place.    *SELAH

v8      I would hurry to a safe place,
     safe from angry wind and storm".

v9      *Lord, destroy (the *evil people)! Confuse their words!
     Because I see fighting and angry people in the city.

v10    They walk on its walls in the day and at night.
     There are *evil (things) and trouble inside it.

v11    *Cruel men that destroy people are in the city.
     People that tell *lies never leave her streets.

v12    For it was not an enemy that laughed at me.
     That would not have hurt me.
     It was not someone that fought against me and said bad things (to me).
     I could have hidden from him!

v13    But it was you, a man just *like me!
     We did things together, you were my best friend!

v14    We had good times together!
     We used to go with a crowd (of people) to the house of God!

v15    I want death to take (my enemies) by surprise!
     I want them to go down to *Sheol alive!
     Because *evil has made its home in them.

v16    But I will cry to God for help and the *LORD will make me safe.

v17    I will tell (God) that something is wrong,
       and cry (to him) in the evening, in the morning and at noon.
     He will listen to my voice.

v18    He will make me safe and well
       after the many times that I have fought against people
       (that are my enemies).

v19    God will listen to me and he will *punish them.
     (God) will always be King!   *SELAH
     He will never change towards the people that are not afraid of God.

v20    But my best friend attacks his friends.
     He does not do what he promised to do.

v21    What he says is as soft as butter, but there is war in his *heart.
     His words are as *soothing as *oil but really they are *like sharp knives.

v22    Take your problems to the *LORD. He will give you help.
     (The *LORD) will never let his people fall.

v23    And you, God, you will make bad people go to the *pit.
     (The *pit) will destroy them.
     (It will destroy) the people that tell *lies and kill (people).
     They will only live half their lives!
     But I will *trust in you, God.

 The Story of Psalm 55

David had a friend. They did a lot of good things together. But one day the friend *betrayed David. David thought that his friend liked him, but he was wrong. His friend worked for David’s enemies. This is *like Jesus’ friend Judas. Judas told Jesus’ enemies where to catch Jesus. Judas *betrayed Jesus as David’s friend *betrayed David. But who was David’s friend?

   ·    Maybe it was Ahithophel. You will find the story in 2 Samuel 15:31; 16:15-23 and 17:1-23. Old Jewish Bibles tell us that it was Ahithophel, but not everyone agrees.

   ·    Maybe it was Absalom. Absalom was King David’s son. So, he was a *prince. "A man just *like me" in verse 13 may mean "a king or a *prince *like me". Again, not everyone agrees. The story of how Absalom tried to kill David and become king himself is in 2 Samuel chapters 15 to 19.

   ·    Maybe we will never know! David had many friends whose names we do not know. Many Christians now think that one of these *betrayed David. They said that they were David’s friends, but they helped David’s enemies in a secret way.

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