Psalm 54 and 55 … Consider Him, the Sustainer of Our Soul

Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

David is in anguish. At the very outset in both Psalms, 54 and 55, David is in the same place. That place of need, that place of desperation for deliverance.

Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your power.
Hear my prayer, O God;
Give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen against me
And violent men have sought my life;
They have not set God before them,

Give ear to my prayer, O God;
And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
Give heed to me and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted,
Because of the voice of the enemy,
Because of the pressure of the wicked;
For they bring down trouble upon me
And in anger they bear a grudge against me,

In Psalm 54, David finds himself besieged by strangers; in Psalm 55, betrayed by friends. In both scenarios he is in tremendous fear for his life, hopelessly longing for relief, wishing he could just run away from it all.

Ever been there, wishing you could just run away? I think we all have. Retreating into our thoughts, compiling our ideas and preposterous plans of how we might escape our predicament. When I read of David in these times, I think about the wilderness caves he was often forced to hide in. When I was in Israel, I saw the carved-out openings high upon the rocky, barren hillsides in the wilderness. These certainly bore no resemblance whatsoever to being places of comfort. I imagine David there, feeling trapped with nowhere to run, and perhaps standing in the mouth of a cave high atop the valley below, dreaming he could sprout wings and simply fly away.

I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest,

David desperately needed rest; the need was all-consuming. In these two Psalms, he refers to himself almost fifty times, using the pronouns me: 19 times; my: 18 times; and I: 10 times.

So worn out and tired of being chased, so drained by the threats and conspiracies, so exhausted from his inner turmoil; David needed rest. And it’s safe to assume, his greatest need was not rest from the dangers he faced from without, but rest from the distresses he wrestled with within himself.

And all too aware of his need for victory over this inner battle, David reminds himself

Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
Sustainer: (54:4): “5564. סָמַךְ sāmaḵ: A verb meaning to lay on, to uphold, to sustain. It indicates placing or laying something on a person or animal… It has the sense of supporting or sustaining someone…The Lord upholds, supports, and sustains someone… In its passive participle, it describes a heart that is supported, sustained…”
Soul: “5315. נֶפֶשׁ nep̱eš: A feminine noun meaning breath, the inner being with its thoughts and emotions…”

The Lord would Sustain David’s Soul; He would carry His servant and uphold him above the angst of his assumptions and the fray of his frenzied feelings. David knew Him as the Sustainer of Our Soul, and he wanted to encourage others to know Him as well.

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
Sustain: (55:22): “3557. כּוּל kûl: A verb meaning to hold, to contain feed, to supply. It indicates clasping or holding in something… it is used of maintaining a supply of food or providing it in time of famine or difficult times… It means to sustain or make good… In its passive uses, it means to be provided with something… It is used literally of a cup containing something…”
Shaken: “4132. מוֹט môṭ: A masculine noun meaning a bar, a pole, that which shakes. It refers to a pole or rod used for carrying things.”

David, a man of faith, the man after God’s own heart, was convinced. David was absolutely confident that God would carry him, and no matter what he faced from outward dangers, in God’s hands, he would be contained, hidden, and steadied within his Soul; and in that place, his thoughts and emotions would rest unshakably in Him, the Sustainer of Our Soul.

Consider Him, the Sustainer of Our Soul

  • He is the Sustainer of Our Soul as He is our strength in times of trouble.
    • The Lord is good,
      A stronghold in the day of trouble,
      And He knows those who take refuge in Him,
      (Nahum 1:7).
    • “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33 NIV).
  • He is the Sustainer of Our Soul as He holds us in His hand.
    • “Do not fear, for I am with you;
      Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
      I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
      Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand,”
      (Isaiah 41:10).
    • “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:28).
  • He is the Sustainer of Our Soul as He gives us power in our weakness.
    • He gives strength to the weary,
      And to him who lacks might He increases power,
      (Isaiah 40:29).
    • And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness…” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  • He is the Sustainer of Our Soul as He keeps us in perfect peace.
    • The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
      Because he trusts in You,
      (Isaiah 26:3).
    • “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful,” (John 14:27).
  • He is the Sustainer of Our Soul, as He guides us forever.
    • That this is God,
      Our God forever and ever;
      He will guide us forever,
      (Psalm 48:14 ESV).
    • “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you,” (John 16:13-14).

How do we respond to Him, the Sustainer of Our Souls?

Really, it comes down to faith. We have to believe He is the Sustainer of Our Soul. Because the truth is, our thoughts and feelings are in constant need of quieting down, of resting in Him, His truth, and His Sustenance. And if we are not diligent to nurture our faith in Him as the Sustainer of Our Soul, me, myself and I will drown out the voice of His truth.

We have to choose to set our minds on His eternal truths, that we would have His eternal perspective to live life by faith and silence our doubts amidst the outward pressures so prevalent in our fallen world.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth,  (Colossians 3:1-2).

And we have to choose to think about all that is excellent and worthy of praise, that our faith will be strengthened to conquer the raging battles of fear and cynicism within.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you, (Philippians 4:8).

And as Paul wrote, we are to put into practice the truth we know, not by works, but by faith. But living by faith is not merely knowing, or simply agreeing and believing the veracity of the facts claimed. Biblical faith manifests itself in a solid conviction in Him, the Sustainer of Our Soul, and yields to that conviction in such a way that it is reflected in our behavior. As we intentionally nurture our faith by setting our minds on eternal and praiseworthy perspectives, as we steadfastly fix our minds on the truths revealed in His Word, our attitudes and actions will match our conviction as we trust Him to Sustain us in His peace.

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You,
(Isaiah 26:3).

Let us steadfastly fix our minds on Him, the Sustainer of Our Soul, as we take everything to Him in prayer, convinced and thankful that He is faithful to hear and provide.

But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer
Nor His lovingkindness from me,
(Psalm 66:19-20).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 4:6-7).

Let us steadfastly fix our minds on Him, the Sustainer of Our Soul as we humbly come in faith to cast every burden, every anxiety, every care on Him, unshakably convinced of His care for us.

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you, (1 Peter 5:6-7).

May we wake each day, renewed in fearless faith and courage to face every battle and challenge as we steadfastly fix our minds on Him, the Sustainer of Our Soul

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me round about
, (Psalm 3:5-6).

Let’s Grow Together!

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