Psalms of Honesty and Truth
Betrayal of someone close to you, someone you depended on for advise and truth in daily living is a brutal blow to us. It makes us weak physically, scattered emotionally and sends us into a mode of thinking that can be very destructive to us. It is bad enough to be defeated by a betrayer. We do not have to go down with them by sinking down to their level, beating down ourselves. We are a redeemed people, who have been taught to forgive, yes, but to move on, being wary and wise. God will help. He listens to our cries of disgust over betrayals. He knows betrayal better than any of us.
It’s likely that this psalm was written early in Absalom’s rebellion when David was still in Jerusalem (vv. 9-11) and the revolt was gathering momentum. If so, then the “friend” of verses 12-14 and 20-21 had to be David’s counselor Ahithophel, who had sided with Absalom. Many commentators claim that the king and his officers didn’t know about Ahithophel’s treachery until after David had fled the city, but this isn’t clearly stated in Scripture. David was a man with keen discernment, and it is difficult to believe that his closest adviser’s treachery was hidden from him. (Warren Wiersby)
Psalm 55, NLT
Listen to my prayer, O God.
Do not ignore my cry for help!
2 Please listen and answer me,
for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
3 My enemies shout at me,
making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
and angrily hunt me down.
4 My heart pounds in my chest.
The terror of death assaults me.
5 Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
and I can’t stop shaking.
6 Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
then I would fly away and rest!
7 I would fly far away
to the quiet of the wilderness. Interlude
8 How quickly I would escape—
far from this wild storm of hatred.
9 Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans,
for I see violence and conflict in the city.
10 Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,
but the real danger is wickedness within the city.
11 Everything is falling apart;
threats and cheating are rampant in the streets.
12 It is not an enemy who taunts me—
I could bear that.
It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—
I could have hidden from them.
13 Instead, it is you—my equal,
my companion and close friend.
14 What good fellowship we once enjoyed
as we walked together to the house of God.
15 Let death stalk my enemies;
let the grave[b] swallow them alive,
for evil makes its home within them.
16 But I will call on God,
and the Lord will rescue me.
17 Morning, noon, and night
I cry out in my distress,
and the Lord hears my voice.
18 He ransoms me and keeps me safe
from the battle waged against me,
though many still oppose me.
19 God, who has ruled forever,
will hear me and humble them. Interlude
For my enemies refuse to change their ways;
they do not fear God.
20 As for my companion, he betrayed his friends;
he broke his promises.
21 His words are as smooth as butter,
but in his heart is war.
His words are as soothing as lotion,
but underneath are daggers!
22 Give your burdens to the Lord,
and he will take care of you.
He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
23 But you, O God, will send the wicked
down to the pit of destruction.
Murderers and liars will die young,
but I am trusting you to save me.
What do we learn?
The psalm reveals four possible approaches to handling the painful problems and battles of life. This helps me, maybe it will help you, too. We all face betrayal of some form at some time in our journey through this life.
1. We Can Look Within at Our Feelings (vv. 1-5). It’s natural to look at our feelings and express our fears, but that isn’t the way to solve the problems. We need to avoid feeding on our own selfish thoughts when hurt deeply. Why? Because hurt people…hurt people. We really don’t want to hurt anyone else, do we?
2. We Can Look Beyond for a Safe Refuge (vv. 6-8). When we find ourselves in the midst of trouble, our first thought is: “How can I get out of this?” But the dedicated believer needs to ask, “What can I get out of this?” What can I learn? Do we run away from the battle or run to the battle? How will victory be won?
3. We Can Look Around at the Circumstances (vv. 9-15, 20-21). David wasn’t living in denial; he knew what was going on around him, and he directed operations in a masterful manner, worthy of his reputation. But he also prayed that God would bring confusion to Absalom’s ranks (v. 9; 2 Sam. 15:31), and that’s just what happened. Allow God to take control of the situation. In times like these, God does His best work…in us.
4. We Can Look Up to God and Trust Him (vv. 16-19, 22-23). While it’s normal for us to hope for a quick way of escape and important for us to understand our feelings and circumstances, it’s far more important to look up to God and ask for His help. HE is God and we are not. Victory begins and ends with God. The peace that alludes us in the heat of the betrayal with come back to overwhelm us when we go to God.
Give the burdens of betrayal over to God, He WILL take care of you. Stay clean in the battle by not flinging mud back at your betrayers. Let God do His work. Victory and peace will come in God’s perfect time.
Dear Heavenly Father, You know the pain of betrayal better than anyone. You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ to save us…and even He was betrayed. So that’s why we look up from the stench of betrayal to cast our eyes on You and cry out for your help. Thank you for always being there and helping us through this part of our journeys. In Jesus Name, Because He is THE Victor, Amen.