Briefing: Scientists say that a human has to repeat a thing twelve to forty times before they can make it a habit. This psalm sounds like other psalms we have looked at but there is a reason for it. It seems like God is trying to develop good habits for David to fall back on.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Psalm 54.
On the Street: I like quotes from smart people. While researching how much repetition it takes to make a habit, I ran across this quote by Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” If this is true then David possibly had more trust in God than almost any person that walked the earth. Throughout the Psalms we see David in some really bad situations. In almost every single case, David worships and praises God. We can see this “excellence” in David. His habit is to turn and trust God in all circumstances.
Like so many other psalms, David starts out in a bad place. He is a desperate man who is seemingly backed into a corner. “Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.” David wants his readers to know who he is asking help from. He is not just crying for help, he specifically inserts “O God” after the opening words of “Save me”. David is a man who knows where his help comes from. Psalm 121:1 says, “I lift up my eyes to the hills; where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Verse 4 says, “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” At first glance, this sentence can sound like David is unsure if God is going to help him. It is almost like David is trying to convince himself that God will show up. That is not the case; there is no question mark at the end of this sentence. This is a statement of confidence. “Surely God IS my help”. And just in case there is any doubt, David tells us that God is the one who has sustained him. If it were not for God, David would not be where he is, writing this psalm.
Looking back over a long career in law enforcement, I can see where God has sustained me. It is not just when I was involved in a dangerous situation or when I should have had a wreck because of my urgency to get to other officers. God sustains me in the little things as well. We should all take time to recognize the grace and protection that comes from God. We should ask for this at the beginning of our shift and thank Him for it at the end of the shift. And if we find ourselves in trouble, like David often does, we should follow this example of crying out to God in the midst of our trouble. I want to be excellent in the habit of communicating with God.
David knows he can trust God because God has delivered him in the past. Verse 7 says, “For He has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.” Humans are quick to forget. It is vitally important to develop the right habits. David does this by constantly reminding himself that God will show up. David remembers and recounts the times God has been faithful in the past and he stands on that trust for the future.
Investigational Resources: There are many studies on forming habits. Take a moment to research one and then practice it on something you would like to get better at. Maybe practice it on reading the Bible regularly or praying throughout the day.
Officer Safety Principle: “I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good.” Psalm 54:6.
from Psalms Through the Eyes of a Cop, Volume 1
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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