Read Psalm 55
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David.
1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
2 hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
3 because of what my enemy is saying,
because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
and assail me in their anger.
4 My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”
9 Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets.
12 If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide.
13 But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
at the house of God,
as we walked about
among the worshipers.
15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;
let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
for evil finds lodging among them.
16 As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.
20 My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant.
21 His talk is smooth as butter,
yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.
22 Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of decay;
the bloodthirsty and deceitful
will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you.
Here we have another lament from David as he is in great anguish over the betrayal of a close friend. That close friend could have been his son, Absalom, or his counselor, Ahithophel (2 Samuel 15:1-14, 16:15-23). These two men conspired to overthrow and humiliate King David.
Have you ever had a friend betray you? While we might expect betrayal from an enemy, when our closest friends turn on us, it often hurts the worst. Sadly, this is a reality of our fallen world. People we think of as a brother or sister can betray or attack us in some way. But isn’t it great that we have a God who is never-changing? Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Our God is steadfast in His love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15). In this psalm, David rightly calls on the Lord to save him because he knows who God is (v. 16-19).
We can put our faith and hope in God because He is constant. While people will let us down, God’s love and the presence of the Holy Spirit are forever.
Verse 22 is one that we often hear when talking about anxiety. Reading it in its full context offers depth into its meaning. David writes while living through an incredibly hard season of intimate betrayal, even attack. Yet, he still proclaims with confidence that God will sustain him and “never let the righteous be shaken” (v. 22). Even in the darkest valley, David trusts in God, knowing that He will bring justice in due time.
Trusting in God can be difficult when it seems like our world is caving in around us, but we can take heart in knowing that despite “anguish,” “terrors of death,” “fear and trembling,” and even “horror,” that “the LORD saves” (v. 4, 5, 16). God hears our voice (v. 17). Our God is not far off in a distant place when we hurt. Rather, He is near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). Like David, we can trust Him.
- Have you ever had someone turn on you? What was your response to that?
- What situations are you experiencing where you find it difficult to trust God?
- What burdens are you carrying today? Bring them to God in prayer and confess them to your Life Group this week.
Here is an article from Desiring God that helps break this passage down in more detail. It provides greater background information on what was happening to David at this point in his life.
1 thought on “Psalm 55”
Betrayal stings, but betrayal by a friend is crushing. David penned this Psalm after a close friend exposed him to danger by giving information to an enemy. David fears for his life, and wants to escape to find peace. His heart is completely overwhelmed. David never denies his feelings, but calls on the Lord to save him. Spurgeon says “What a comfort that we may be thus familiar with our God. We may not complain of Him, but we may complain to Him.” Wherever we struggle God invites our angst & honesty. The reality is there will be difficult times, but we can always take refuge in Him, where we will find rest for our weary souls. Let’s place our burdens confidently in his hands where we can be sustained through the suffering. Psalm 68:19 says “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”