Text: Psalm 64
Again, David cries out to the Lord, as he does in so many of his poems. Bitter words like sharpened arrows (3) rain down on him as evil ones plot his downfall. Dread is more paralyzing than fear, and David asks God preserve my life from dread of the enemy (1b) and their hidden, evil purposes, the secret plots of the wicked (2) who search out injustice (6).
But – a reversal! God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly. (7) The Lord sees, and the enemy is unaware of His acting. (5b) He makes an example of them, giving them what they deserve. Their ruin brings benefit as mankind fears [God]; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what He has done. (9) God’s justice brings joy to the righteous who take refuge in Him, with praise and exultation for His mighty work.
There is no specific difficulty that marks this psalm, but David suffers at the hands of plotters and schemers. Secrecy is in the toolkit of the wicked. Plots and schemes carried out behind locked doors in the arrogant belief no one knows are not lost on the all-seeing God. He has been listening all along as David pleads for His help. His swift action reverses the trajectory of the arrows back toward those hurling them. However best-laid their schemes, they have failed.
Bitter words? Lies and vague half-truths that sow discord, gossip that spreads like a disease, misinterpretation that twists good intent, slander that destroys a reputation. Arrows of careless speech wound and kill, and David’s enemies are adept – they think.
Shaking their heads in astonishment at God’s engineering this downfall, the upright in heart look up in thanks and praise. God’s vindication is for their instruction.
How quickly critical thoughts grow into bitter words in the secret place of the heart! As we nurture small grievances against another, as we ‘share’ our annoyances with others of (our) like mind, as we allow dark thoughts to fester, we may find that the secrecy of our schemes backfires. After all, we will be called in the last judgement to account for every careless word we speak. Or arrow we fling.
Fasting from speaking is a hard discipline, but by grace it keeps us firmly centred in the peace and unity of His Spirit.
We do well to consider our words carefully before we speak. We do better to ask God to examine our hearts, then repent of rash, unkind words. And we do best to constantly seek the One who endured such lies on our behalf. May our tongues speak only His good words, from a clean heart.
Lord, who have I injured by my bitter words? Have I openly confessed to the person I have hurt? For those who fling arrows at me, have I found Your way to forgiveness, and prayed for reconciliation in You?
Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King;
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee…
Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine
Take my heart, it is Thine own, it shall be Thy royal throne
Frances Ridley Havergal
Sing Psalm 64
Poor Bishop Hooper
Hear My Voice God - Jesse and Leah Roberts
Psalm 64 - Pastor Smokie Norful
Observe: Psalm 63 has two sections to it. The first section (verses 1 – 8) tells of David’s desire to seek after God and give Him praise. The second section (verse 9 – 11) states David’s trust in God that He will have vengeance on his enemies and yet he himself will rejoice in God.
Interpretation and Application: David wrote this while in the desert of Judah. I think at one time we’ve all been in a place or situation where it’s hot, dry and dusty and all we can think of is getting something to drink. David, while in the desert (and probably thirsty) thus turns his thoughts to getting something to quench his thirst, but it wasn’t a physical quenching of thirst, but rather a spiritual one. He likens his thirst to that of thirsting after God. Indeed, his whole body longed for God. I’m not sure that if I were in his situation that I would turn my thoughts first to praising God and listing His attributes, but David knew his God and trusted Him completely. He rejoiced in the fact that God’s love is better than life itself and that by praising God he would be more satisfied than with the best and richest of foods.
I can personally relate to David’s words in verse 6 – “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night”. My husband David can attest to the fact that I am often awake for hours in the middle of the night. It is then that I have my most meaningful prayer times with the Lord. I would encourage you to do the same if you suffer from insomnia!
As most of you know, I teach voice and piano. For me verse 7 speaking of “singing in the shadow of Your wings” (because You are my help) paints a beautiful picture for me of Christ protecting me, holding me, and staying close to me so that I can sing His praises without fear. The people who disagree with me or who are against me because of my faith will be dealt with by God, so I need not fret about them.
Basically, Psalm 63 reminds us that through our praise and worship we have the power to overcome anything. Our souls long for God and that God-sized hole that each individual has is only satisfied when we accept Christ as Saviour. Only then can our thirst be satisfied.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to long for You. Help us to give You praise in all circumstances, sing and speak Your praises and show others that only You can quench our thirst and satisfy our soul. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Song: Psalm 63 Your Love is Better Than Life (Shane and Shane)
“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.”
Psalm 62: 1-2
Essentially this Psalm is a statement of faith; it is not a prayer as a good number of David’s Psalms are. He is stating His faith in God, encouraging others to do the same, and teaching that we should not place our trust elsewhere. It is similar in content to Psalm 39, which is certainly more of a prayer. We can almost imagine David praying Psalm 39 and in His closeness to God, finding trust and rest, resulting in him making this statement filled with faith and praise. Both Psalms are to be given to Jeduthun, who we read is responsible for music and the singing of sacred songs. His sons are posted at the gates of the temple (1 Chronicles 16: 42); a family committed to the worship of God.
In the main themes of this Psalm David points to God as the source of true, real rest, because God is the source of: salvation; security; hope; honour; power; and love. There will be enemies in life who are deceitful in motive and appear to care but God is the one that should be trusted. Trust is misplaced if status or riches are relied upon. Hearts will only find rest in God. Ultimately all will be rewarded according to what they have done.
At St. Aidan’s we have a vision statement of Real God, Real Church, Real Lives. The purpose of this statement is to encourage all of us to know God in reality and so for the Church to be His true Body and for our lives to be ones of discipleship; in short to be real in our faith. In this Psalm David says that he ‘truly’ finds rest in God and that God is ‘truly’ his rock and salvation. We could say here that God is our Real Rest and our Real Salvation.
Real Rest, real peace in our hearts minds and lives, can only be found in God. This rest is a beautiful place of stillness and comfort that comes from the security we have in God, our rock and fortress. What shatters this rest is unbelief and disobedience (Hebrews 3: 18, 4: 2, 3, 9); a lack of trust. Belief and trust of God in our hearts gives us peace with God and the peace of God; Real Salvation. Peter tells us that God has given us everything we need for this rest in God, this life of godliness. We find what we need in God and His promises. Through faith and the power of His Holy Spirit we can build on our trust and grow in rest receiving our inheritance and a rich eternal reward (2 Peter 1: 3-11)
The Question of Application
Which of God’s promises could you meditate and pray upon today to grow in rest and your relationship with God? Perhaps; ‘My salvation and my honour depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge,’ or ‘Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.
Lord God, in a challenging world we look to you as our rock of hope. Hear us as we pour out our hearts to you, and give us your grace and protection. Help us to place our trust in you the source of our rest and salvation. This we ask through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen
Psalm 62 (My Soul finds Rest in God Alone) by Aaron Keyes
Good God Almighty by David Crowder
INTRODUCTION: This Psalm serves as a general request for God's help in times of trouble. The royal wellbeing is tied to the wellbeing of the whole people. Verse 8 looks forward to acts of public worship as the proper result of the help for which the Psalm prays.
APPLICATION: this Psalm says that in times of trouble the best thing you can to do is to cry out to God who loves you. How often we need the rock, the strength of God's faithfulness, especially when our own faith feels pretty feeble! We run to him - to that strong tower - we let our weakness carry us to the One whose mercy never fails, whose "love endures forever."
I think of a mother bird gathering her chicks under her wings when danger is nearby. May we also take refuge in the "shelter of [God's] wings." (V4)
Our God's presence is our hiding place and our place of comfort. When we have run to him in times of trouble, we join with generations of others who have known "from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." (Ps.121 KJV)
(V 6)"Prolong the life of the King." This king, as the Lord's anointed king, would have served as the intermediary between God and his people Israel. We have Jesus, the "high king of heaven," who intercedes for us, who is above any earthly king and has the ultimate anointing as the Christ, the Son of God.
Interestingly, Scripture tells us we also need to pray for our government leaders - those in authority (1Tim. 2:1-2a). Now, and always, we need leaders who have wisdom, integrity, and who can use power with compassion. Good government means the church can flourish, where we can sing God's praise and worship together in peace.
PRAYER: Lord we run to you in times of trouble. We trust that you are the rock that is higher than us. We long to be gathered close to you, to hear your heart, to feel your strength, especially when we feel weak. How loving you are. Amen.
SONG: "Oceans" by Hillsong
Psalm 60 is written to David’s choirmaster; it reflects his conflicts and, in this case, his defeats at the hands of the nations surrounding him, most likely found recorded in 2 Samuel 8:1-8. David begins by lamenting his sense of rejection by God, whom he acknowledges as angry and not having given His help in certain conflicts, probably for the sins of Israel. David is careful to realize that though the Lord is always victorious, Israel had conducted themselves in a way that went outside of what He wanted them to do. A Psalm and narrative such as this is most likely condensing events, drawing themes and verses together around their ultimate cause(s) and not just their immediate effects. Whatever the case may be, David acknowledges his despondency before the Lord who has made His people see hard things.
David then hits a hopeful chord (pun intended?) as he remembers the goodness of God, His power to save, and that Israel is still the Lord’s beloved. David speaks, as an inspired prophet, the words of God and shows Him as one who will rejoice in His lordship over Israel, portioning and caring for the people of Israel while bringing low their enemies. The final four verses recognized again that it is only through the Lord and acting in His will that victory is assured, that no man can provide salvation, and that trusting in Him is the only means by which man may prosper and thrive.
This Psalm follows a path with which we ought all be familiar by now. There’s the recognition of error accompanied by lament and acceptance, a turnaround to hope in the Lord, reminders of His goodness, promises, and sovereignty, then ended on praise and promise. They say that if you can’t or don’t know how to pray, read the Psalms – that’s true even if you do know how to pray.
I very much doubt that any of us who are reading this blog (nor the one writing it) have ever been in such tight spots as David. We’ve probably not been chased from our house and home for years at a time, hunted for having done what is right; we’ve not been responsible for the lost lives of hundreds or thousands; we’ve not ruled over a nation chosen by God to be His special people. We tend to read Psalms like these through our modern eyes and draw themes between them and our own lives. Perhaps a foe or enemy is a specific person you have to be around every day that just winds you up, or maybe it’s the way your workplace as a whole deals with some moral issue completely backwards and suddenly you find yourself under fire for trying to do the right thing. We parallel our lives to that of David or Elijah and draw comfort from the promises of God in whatever given circumstance we find ourselves. We can empathize with them having enemies on all sides or them feeling abandoned by God and are content to orbit the stories in the Bible around our own lives.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with reading like this, it doesn’t exactly put our focus where it should be. I’m not saying we can’t correlate Biblical characters and their struggles or praise with our own lives, but that we shouldn’t only draw our connections one way. Instead, we should draw that arrow of connection both ways. If we feel under siege at work or alone or hurting because of the way someone treated us here or there, imagine how David felt to have an entire nation out to get him! If we feel rejected by those who should have loved us most, imagine how Jesus felt in His own hometown, or standing in front of the High Priest before being condemned to death! Instead of only taking the titanic struggles we find in Scripture and scaling them down (and yes, we might very well have titanic struggles of our own), let us also scale our own empathy to those in the Bible who, probably being in much tighter spots than we might find ourselves, could still praise God in sorrow, could still affirm His goodness when He seems far off, and could still declare His goodness even when all good has disappeared from sight!
This is a difficult but vital exercise. It is vital because it takes our focus off ourselves and angles our hearts somewhere else; it is difficult for those exact same reasons. You and I come to the Bible for guidance, comfort, wisdom, and so much more, but remember: we are called to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto us. To surrender even our most difficult trials and to pour out even our most sensitive feelings and sins to the Lord as a friend and father, purely for the sake of building intimacy with Him and not to feel the warm fuzzies, is pure worship. To seek to glorify God in our time alone with our Bibles and keep our hearts angled upwards is to seek first the kingdom of God; then all these things will be added unto you. It is a subtle and difficult exercise, but could very well be the next step in our heart’s alignment to the Lord’s. I don’t claim to be good at this at all, but I do recognize my own struggle and maybe this helps you with yours.
David could confidently stand upon the promises of God even while feeling broken and rejected by that same God; he was in the habit of putting the Lord before his own anger and turmoil. It was this way of living that let him declare God the Father as our only true salvation.
Thank you, Father God, for being so close at all times. Open the eyes of our hearts that we might see you before ourselves. Teach us to put you first and trust that you know exactly what we need before we say a word. Teach us to trust you as the Good Father that you are; to pour out our hearts before you that we might do away with our self-exaltation and idolatry, putting you on the throne of our hearts where you belong. Forgive us for having been so selfish and inwardly focused, and grant that we might just forget ourselves a little bit more each day, trusting you, that we might reflect the glory of your Son, Jesus Christ, to everyone around us. Amen!
Song: The Lord is My Salvation (Shane & Shane)
Text: Psalm 59
Observe Saul’s mad pursuit of David brings a lament, where David calls on God’s sure protection to deliver him from enemies out to kill him.
Section one is his cry for help in the face of bloodthirsty men, though he’s innocent (3b). He calls out to God to wake up and witness the strife, to spare none of those who treacherously plot evil (5b.) Section two expresses confidence that God is protecting him and will vindicate him, making an example of his persecutors. David will sing of His strength and steadfast love that protects.
But, God laughs (8;Psalm 2:4)! He knows evil is defeated and He is not intimidated. His laughter is not mocking but triumphant in its truth. Snarling dogs cannot overcome singing psalmist. As in laments, praise is the resolution.
Interpret The third of four ‘Do Not Destroy’ miktamim or Golden Psalms of David. This psalm refers to 1 Sam 19:11 where David escapes Saul's henchmen. The description of howling dogs (remember the lions of Psalm 57?) occurs twice, (6;14) where comparing them with animals is insulting. There’s something grimly familiar in sword-sharp words spewing out of their mouths with impunity, for ‘Who?’ they think ‘will hear us?”(7). Who, indeed?
Their damaging words, His instructive Word – vastly different in purpose and intent. God will not be so lightly taken. He is not indifferent to sin, and He is already the victor.
Apply Tim Keller points out, “Today’s media make it easier than ever to spew…words…sharp as swords (7). Unlike in written letters, we dash emails and texts off without weighing them. Unlike face-to-face confrontation, we blurt things out without fear of seeing the hurt or anger in the other person’s face. Because of anonymity we think no one can identify us. Words are weaponized more now than in David’s day. But every word – even an offhanded careless one (Mt 12:36) – indicates the heart’s contents (12:34) and will be judged by God. … we are saying ‘I didn’t really mean what I said.’ But you did. Watch and control words to know and shape your heart. (Jas. 3:1-12)”
Rant all we want, what’s the good if that’s all we do? Sure, there could be a certain nasty ‘satisfaction’ in tearing down others (would we do so well, in their situation?). David can ask God not to be gracious to his enemies (5, 13); even if we complain loudly and often to God, Jesus says, Love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you… Impossible but not difficult if, submitted to His grace, our hearts and minds slowly, slowly turn like rusty weathervanes to the bright morning star.
Ask Have I learned that God is my strength and shield? Have I directed my heart to Him, my eyes fixed on Him? Do I measure my words before I speak, especially in heated discussion?
Pray Lord, have mercy on me. Let me speak only what will build up and bless or let me be silent. Let me be neither overwhelmed by the evil around me nor hardened to it, but let me speak Your truth in love. Save me from the sins of my tongue and the character flaws that fuel them.
Sing Psalm 59 Poor Bishop Hooper
Sons of Korah
May 16th – Les Kovacs Psalm 58
Observe: Psalm 58 is a prayer of David’s against those who are unjust.
In his prayer, David targets those in authority who speak unjustly and who pronounce unjust judgments. They plan injustice in their hearts and carry out violence in the world. They are wicked rom birth, and David compares them to poisonous snakes that cannot be controlled, regardless of any efforts to guide them otherwise. David prays for the Lord to punish them and remove them from the face of the earth. In the final verses of his prayer, David expresses his confidence that the Lord will indeed avenge the innocent and punish the wickedly unjust rulers, and that the righteous people will rejoice in God’s vengeance, and praise Him for His rewards to the righteous people of the earth.
Interpret: King David lived a tumultuous life. He has been described as a man after God’s own heart, but he was also a man of the world, with great passions. He knew better than most that justice was not an attribute that most rulers possess. In fact, his own judgement was often clouded by his baser desires, as we remember from the tragic fallout over his lust for Bathsheba.
In this case, however, David’s passion is aroused and directed at those in positions of power who abuse their authority to oppress the disadvantaged members of society. His is a gut reaction for God to kick in the teeth of the unjust rulers. Using the violent imagery of his times, David calls on the Lord to destroy these rulers, wishing they had never been born because all they’ve done from birth is to cause wickedness and evil. He looks forward to God repaying them for their evil deeds. His graphic image of wading through their blood like a conqueror on the battlefield of justice vividly reflects his disgust for them.
Yet for all the injustices that David witnesses, he knows that ultimately God’s justice will prevail. David’s hope remains firmly rooted in the Lord. He knows that God will have mercy on the righteous and will reward those who are faithful to Him. The unjust and the wicked will be swept away, and God’s people will rejoice in being judged by a just God.
Application: The world we live in does not reflect the perfect vision that God created in the beginning. Equality, justice, and peaceful coexistence are almost universally touted by world leaders, but rarely, if ever, actually experienced by those they lead. I recently read that during the pandemic, the wealthiest people in the world became wealthier, and the poorest people in the world became poorer. Those at the top of the social order always seem to be able to survive economic downturns better than those with little or no means. We all know that life is not fair.
Most of us would agree that there is a time and a place for honest disagreement, for rational debate on issues divide us. But when we witness blatant disregard for human rights and dignity, whether obviously in brutal dictatorships around the world, or more subtly in “democratic” laws that defy God’s will, we can understand David’s visceral fury directed against the rulers whose injustices results in the harm or deaths of our brothers and sisters.
This is a clear warning for us not to conform to the character of the unjust leaders, or those who get ahead at the expense of others. History has shown that when the people follow the ways of their corrupt leaders, their society becomes corrupt and flounders. The people are led astray by the leaders they follow, whether government officials, social influencers, or even errant religious leaders. The vitality of the Israelites rose and fell with the morality and faithfulness to God of their leaders, as does the vitality of our own society today.
But just as David found his hope in the righteousness and faithfulness of God, so to do we find our hope in Him. David said that there is a reward for the righteous. Therefore, our lives ought to reflect this sure truth: that we will receive an inheritance from the Lord. We ought to serve God with reverence and awe.
Unlike David, however, who only asked for justice, we know that God is not only just, but He is merciful as well. Because of David’s descendent Jesus Christ, we know that not only will God judge the earth, but also that He will deal mercifully with His Children through His grace. We, the disciples of Christ, have been given the hope of eternal salvation through our faith in Jesus. By the grace of God, we can receive the reward when we submit our lives to God and worship Him alone.
Prayer: Father God, this life is filled with uncertainty, but you have assured us that the righteous will receive a just reward. But this righteousness comes not from our own actions and will, but through the salvation bought for us by Jesus Christ. Help us always to remember the sacrifice you made for us, and so to act for the cause of justice for those who cannot act for themselves. This we pray in the merciful name of Jesus, Amen.
Song: In Christ Alone – Shane & Shane
Observe: David’s life is again in peril. Alone and discouraged, he hides in the cave of Adullam in fear of Saul (1 Sam 22). Anxiously he cries out for mercy while taking refuge in the Lord (1), trusting God’s vindication while he is in the midst of lions; … forced to dwell among ravenous beasts (4). Yet there’s a repeated refrain: Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let Your glory be above all the earth (5,11).
Hebrew poetry uses repetition to express importance and truth; twice David says his heart is steadfast. He will sing and make music (7) loud enough to wake the dawn, so all the nations will hear. His confidence in God’s deliverance becomes praise: For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. (10) He ends with the refrain.
Interpret: There are four “Do Not Destroy” ‘miktamim’ (Golden Psalms): 57-59 and 75. Derek Kidner suggests the title may be a snatch of an old song or saying. Spurgeon notes destruction of the wicked and preservation of the righteous are principal themes.
Literal lions and ravenous beasts gather at the mouth of that cave, symbolic enemies ganging up against him. In deepest darkness, he sings his hope in God – no stoic defiance here! His perspective aligns with God’s, and in Him will he find his life preserved.
Tim Keller, commenting on this Psalm, writes: “The universe is an endless ocean of God’s joy and glory. We are caught temporarily in a little drop of sadness here on earth. But eventually it will be removed. Regardless of what happens immediately to believers, eventually it will be all right.”
Apply: It’s so easy to get caught up in news from one-sided perspectives that fosters dread or panic. It’s so easy to become a news junkie, watching for the next roaring lion over the horizon. (Remembering my brief stay in Kharkiv, years ago, I confess I was glued to newsfeeds.) Tragedies abound: illness, needless death, protests, wars, injustice, loss, our own failures (less newsworthy but equally sad).
When our spiritual enemy roars at the gates of our hearts, Spurgeon gives comfort:
· If you are among lion s, you will have fellowship with Jesus and His church.
· If you are among lions, you will be driven nearer to your God.
· If you are among lions, remember that God has them on a leash.
· If you are among lions, remember there is another Lion, of the Tribe of Judah.
Psalm 27 tells us to seek the Lord’s face, to gaze at the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple (His church as together we worship Him), and we find His beauty in the most surprising places -- even caves! In Him we are secure. Problems live on earth; God is far above them – yet with us in them.
Ask: Will you deal with the lions in my life, Lord? How can I align my life to You when what I see around me contradicts all that You are? Will You reveal Your holy perspective through Your word, even amidst lions?
Pray: Lord, only in You will all the evil in this world, all my failure and weakness, be transformed into ‘all right’. But only in You, Jesus; help me to trust this is already so, despite this ‘drop of sadness’ that is life in this world. And then, Lord, Let Your glory be in all the earth. Your perspective is grace, truth, and goodness. Thank You, thank You!
Sing Ps 57 Psalms Project
Be Gracious Unto Me - Worship Community
Observe: David is petitioning the Lord for mercy amongst the malice of his enemies (verse 1-7). He then declares his obligation to praise God for His mercies despite those enemies (verses 8-13).
Interpret and Application: David is fleeing from Saul – again! However, he decides to flee to Gath where the Philistines live. Why would he do this as the Philistines were enemies of both Saul and David? It’s a death sentence for sure! However, David acted like a crazy person when he got there which would assure him that the Philistines wouldn’t kill him. They never killed anyone who was crazy in those times. David pleads with God for mercy from his enemies after listing all their schemes and wickedness. However, in between these “lists”, David wholeheartedly puts his faith and trust in the Lord, knowing that he has nothing to fear because of God’s word. (verses 3 & 4). He goes on to say that God has both a book and a bottle in which He stores our tears of sin and affliction. How wonderful to know that when we at last see Him He shall “wipe every tear from (our) eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev. 21:4) and God will wipe away every tear from (our) eyes” (Rev. 7:17). Did you notice that David once again repeats verses 3 & 4 in verses 10 & 11? We need not fear if we trust the Lord and His word. Mere mortals can do nothing to harm us. I know that in my life I falter in this often. My husband David calls me a “control aficionado” and I have to admit that this is a very difficult part of my life to hand over to the Lord. I want control more than I give the Lord the reins of my life. However, I think I’m learning! One of my daughters is quite distraught at the way the world is heading and is concerned about how this will affect Christians. My answer to her is: “Well…what’s the worst that can happen? We may lose our lives, but think of where we’ll be headed then!” We will head to a place where God will wipe away all our tears. David’s vows of thankfulness follow his pleas for mercy because he knows that God has delivered us from sin whose wages are death. (Rom. 6:23) David desired that God would keep him from even the appearance of sin. We should do so as well, so that we may give better service to the Lord and serve Him without fear.
Prayer: Lord, we thank You that we can trust Your word and not fear! Keep us from even the appearance of evil and keep us in Your ways so that when we meet You face to face all of our tears will be wiped away and we will do nothing but rejoice in Your presence. Amen.
Song: Psalm 56 - Jason Silver
Observe: The Psalmist pleas for help from God for his inner turmoil. He wants to flee from his enemy, who was a near friend. The depth of betrayal is very deep, and his reaction is to ask God for revenge. At. V 16, he pleads with God who alone can save him. After more description of the betrayer’s lies, the final stanza is spoken to others: “Cast your cares/burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain you,” ending with a final hope that God will avenge him.
Interpret: David was betrayed by his own son Absalom, ending in civil war, with the crown of Israel as the prize. Is this the background for this anguished plea for help against an enemy? Certainly David fled, and this Psalm expresses the desire to flee. The inner anguish of betrayal by someone close, “my companion, my close friend,” cuts deep. All this is told honestly to the Lord, mixed with expressions of trust. The final “Cast your cares on the Lord” is mixed with thirst for vindication.
Application: Nearly everyone gets betrayed by someone we trust at some point. A close friend turns her back; a spouse commits adultery; a trusted boss screws you over; a church leader you leaned on turns on you instead; an adult child cuts you off. Examples abound. Psalm 55 is a deep dive into the pain of betrayal: the turmoil, the desire to run away, and the prayers that God will avenge you. Pain slowly gives way to trust in what God will do, although the desire to inflict pain back is not completely gone. The last few verses show that the struggle is ongoing: telling others to trust, even as the desire for vindication lingers. The last verse: “But as for me, I trust in you,” points ahead to a path to resolution, but forgiveness is not yet in sight.
Judas betrayed Jesus; so did Peter. Jesus even saw it coming long before it happened. How did Jesus deal with that? Not by asking God for vengeance, but by trusting in God. For us to get to that point of trust, after deep personal betrayal, requires a long process of honestly dealing with the wounds and what caused them, asking God for help, and accepting that only God acts with perfect justice on our behalf. Key verse: “Cast your cares/burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain you.”
Prayer: “Lord, I have been deeply hurt by betrayal, but I will trust in your justice and your care. Amen.”
Song: “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.