In a medical emergency, our first thought is often to get to a hospital. But in 99,000 cases per year, the hospital itself proves fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s how many people die each year from infections acquired while in the hospital. Despite all the good they do, hospitals are not always trustworthy.
God’s salvation, on the other hand, is entirely trustworthy, always and without exception. We all stand in desperate need of it! Murderers like Cain, adulterers like David, and disobedient prophets like Jonah are not special cases. We are all doomed sinners except for God’s grace. His mercy and forgiveness are our only hope. Sin and death manifest themselves in a variety of ways, in our lives and throughout history—but the real story is about God’s salvation and His unfailing love. That’s why in today’s reading David presented his dilemma and need for rescue, but it is God who is placed at center stage.
David’s side of the conversation is easily summarized: “Hasten, O God, to save me; come quickly, Lord, to help me” (v. 1). Unspecified enemies are out to ruin and possibly kill him. He’s unable to save himself and prevent the triumph of evil. God alone is “my help and my deliverer” (v. 5).
What is God’s side of the conversation? Simply this: He is worthy of David’s faith and trust. He is indeed able to save! Worship of God is what defines the difference between His friends and His enemies (v. 4). His friends joyfully know His character and actions . . . and His enemies inevitably find out. The result? God is exalted and His people proclaim it! The key to this spiritual conversation and psalm is a correct understanding of God and a close relationship with Him.
Apply the Word
This psalm is subtitled “a petition,” and it presents us with a model of how to make our requests known to God in prayer (see also Phil. 4:6; Heb. 4:16). First, we present the need with appropriate humility and urgency. Then we declare our trust in God as the only One willing and able to help us. Finally, we praise Him in advance for His faithfulness to us.