What does it take to be a savior? David said, “Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength” (Psalm 54:1). The first thing a savior has to do is determine if something or someone is savable. For example, when a doctor discovers that a person has cancer, he has to determine what stage the cancer is in to know if there is anything he can do to treat it and save the person’s life.
When David said judge me by thy strength, he was acknowledging that God’s strength is what determined his ability to save David. Just as a doctor has certain medicines and treatments at his disposal to save his patient, God has certain things that he can do to save a person’s life.
God’s strength or power is limitless. He can literally do anything he wants to, but God does not do just anything, he uses his wisdom to determine the best course of action and does what will bring the best possible outcome. When God determines if someone can be saved, he looks at their sin record to see what stage of destruction the person has reached. Although it is true that no one is beyond redemption, a person’s heart can become so hardened that nothing can be done to penetrate the barrier he has put up between him and God.
The word translated judge, dîyn (deen) “implies a settlement of what is right where there is a charge upon a person. Diym is a judicial word marking the act whereby men’s position and destiny are decided” (1777). David asked that God judge him by his strength because he knew that one day God was going to provide a Messiah that could erase every sin on David’s record and make it possible for him to have eternal life.
When David said, “Save me, O God, by thy name” (Psalm 54:1), he was talking about God’s reputation. The second thing a savior has to do is establish a track record of saving people. It wouldn’t make sense to go to a doctor that has no experience saving lives. If you know your chances of survival are slim to none, when your life is on the line, you are going to look for a doctor with the most experience, the one that has already saved people in similar situations.
God’s reputation for saving the Israelites began when he delivered them from bondage in Egypt. The ten plagues that he brought on Pharaoh, the parting of the Red Sea, and the manna that came from heaven for 40 years in the desert were all miraculous demonstrations of God’s power or capability to save lives. When Moses asked God why he was using miraculous signs to deliver the Israelites, he basically told him it was so that his name would become famous throughout the whole world.
God has revealed himself to us using many names that reflect something of his person and work. David understood that his Messiah would have a name and it would be the greatest name of all because it would reflect God’s work of salvation. Soon after Jesus ascended into heaven, his disciples discovered the power inherent in his name.
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.