King Saul is hunting David, who has just been chosen to take his place. Israel’s would-be king has fled into the Judean desert. And now his own countrymen, the Ziphites, betray him by offering to capture him for Saul. The very people who were supposed to shelter David have proven themselves flaky rather than faithful (1 Samuel 23:19-28).
Persecuted by enemies and betrayed by supposed allies, David runs to the only refuge he has left—God’s name (Psalm 54:1-2). David knew that to trust God’s name is to trust God’s unchanging character. God will always act like God even when friends start acting like enemies (Psalm 54:3). Throughout Israel's history God promised to be with his people, and so far, he has never failed on that promise (Numbers 6:27; Deuteronomy 12:5; 2 Chronicles 6:6). So David continues to trust God’s faithfulness over man’s flakiness. And hopes God will soon deliver him from Saul and the Ziphites (Psalm 54:4).
God’s faithfulness also means David doesn’t need to take vengeance into his own hands. God’s good name will do that for him (Psalm 54:5). David is confident that God’s goodness and faithfulness will not allow him to let evil go unchecked. God’s name will never flake out on his people. David anticipates an ultimate deliverance from evil where he will celebrate the vindication of God’s name and the total vanquishing of evil (Psalm 54:6-7).
Where is the Gospel?
In a world of enemies and flaky allies, we need a name we can trust to save us. And God has given us his name. God’s name is Jesus. Jesus is the embodied, visible, and tangible faithfulness of God to his people (John 1:14, 18). Jesus promises to be the only name that never flakes.
When Jesus walked among his people, his experience was similar to David’s. He knew what it was like to have his own kinsman turn against him (John 1:10-11, 7:4-5, 13:18). One of his own disciples betrayed him and handed him over to his murderous enemies (Luke 22:47-48). Nevertheless, Jesus trusted God and did not take vengeance into his own hands. He knew God would remain faithful to his own name. And God raised Jesus from the dead just as God delivered David.
And now Jesus offers deliverance to all who trust his name is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The goodness of his name will not let evil go unpunished. And when Jesus returns, God’s good and faithful name will overcome the evil and flakiness of humanity (Revelation 19:11, 15). The people we trust in life will change names and sides. But Jesus remains faithful because he cannot change who he is (2 Timothy 2:13). He is forever Faithful and True, a sure refuge in a world of flaky fidelity.
See for Yourself
I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who gives his name as a refuge. And may you see Jesus as the name of God who is always faithful and who will triumph over evil in the end.