With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. - Psalm 54:6
This is a psalm of David, prayed while on the run from Saul. The Ziphites, that band of snitches, were revealing David's hiding places to Saul, never allowing a fugitive David to rest. It is in the desperation of the soul that he prays this psalm.
The key theme for David in this psalm is the power of God's name. After all it's about who you know right? We've surely been in situations where you've met someone and don't know anything about them but when they give you the name of someone you both know, there is some association, some connection that is made. The name alone doesn't identify that you each know the same person but does more than that. It provides inferences on whether the person giving the name is trustworthy, likable, or trustworthy. Such is the power of a name.
I have a difficult first name to pronounce and have had it slaughtered by well-meaning substitute teachers and salesmen on a regular basis. When I was younger, I adopted an "American" name that made it easier for others. It didn't last long because at the end of the day, it simply wasn't me. There was no reference point for the name beyond simply giving native English-speakers to identify me.
There is power in being named. Parents name a child because he or she is their creation. We name our pets because it is our responsibility to care for them. There is an authority inherent in naming others. People change their last names because they don't want to be associated with their family's painful past or are looking to forge a different future with a new one in marriage.
Only one being has never been named by another for he was never birthed and has no father nor mother. He has no beginning nor end but always was, is, and will be. None has power or authority over him for he named himself. He is the Lord, Yahweh, Jehovah, I AM.
The beauty of this psalm is the build up to God's name. David prays and uses "elohim" in speaking to God, even as he calls upon God, "Save me by your name." He repeatedly uses this term to refer to God in this prayer as he recalls the character and compassion of his God. It's as if David's tapping the ground in his prayer, trying to make sure he's on sure footing, before he confidently takes his stand in the name of his Lord, which happens in verse 6. As the first 5 verses bubble up, David erupts in verse 6, exclaiming YAHWEH. You can imagine the cry this was. I simply can't see this being whispered to himself or said in his own head but had to have been yelled out.
The fears and anxieties of the present and future give way to confidence in the true name of the Lord and the victories and comfort David has experienced in the past in the hands of our Lord. In so many ways, this provides one possible pattern for our own prayers. So much of our time is often spent on calling upon God to address our current troubles and future anxieties yet so little is spent on the exclamation and outburst of praise and hope that comes from remembering God's faithfulness in times gone by.
We also live in a time where God's name is used in vain, a curse word muttered under the breath of the frustrated. What weight does the name of the Lord carry in your heart? What comfort does it bring to your soul? To hear that the Lord is near in your struggles, to hear that the victory is the Lord's in your defeats? This is what David experienced and what God desires for us today. Trust in His name.