Dealing with Ziphites
Dear God, Your name is on my lips because You have placed it in my heart. All praise to You.
Read PSALM 54:1-7
 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“In this world we face the malice of men from without and the temptations of the devil from within” (Walter Hilton).
We all have them: Ziphites. No, not a medical problem, but people who feel free to malign us, betray us, misrepresent us, and otherwise gleefully misuse us. Well, David knew the answer to troublesome Ziphites.
We need to notice the shape of the psalm to see the answer. Psalm 54 has a typical seven-verse symmetrical structure to it. Two equal but opposite parts mirror each other. The first part is vs. 1-3; the second part is vs. 5-7. Verse 4 is the hinge, the inflection point where the prayer for God to save (1,2) and the description of wickedness (3) turns to the description of God’s judgment (5) and thanksgiving for salvation (6,7).
So what turns David’s heart? What is v. 4 about that it can give David a triumphant, praising heart even before the Ziphites have been hobbled? It is the truth that whatever life’s Ziphites may be like, God is bigger, stronger, closer and truer than all of them put together. Be they never so clever, they are up against God, not you. It is not spaced-out, pie-eyed optimism to praise God before the problem, and the problem-causers, have gone away. It is what you do when he has reminded you that he is for you and will lovingly sustain you. Well, what’s he going to do? Abandon you? Surely not (4)!
The answer to troublesome Ziphites—human or demonic—is to rest in the Father’s boundlessly defensive love for you. Settle your mind on your heavenly Father who cares for you—and therefore about your job, your marriage, your children, your health—with infinite sympathy and strength.
Reflect on these words: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven … ” (Matt. 5:11,12).
Father, minister to my fears and anger. Douse my pain with Your love. Reassure me that You will not abandon me. Thank You for Your loving and protecting arm.
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