Reflections Of the Psalms – Psalm 55

Posted on: January 14th, 2018

When we think of David, we usually see him as one of the key individuals in the Old Testament period. Few in the Old Testament are as popular as David. He was anointed to be king over Israel, he defeated the giant soldier, Goliath, and he ruled as king over Israel for 40 years. Later, God would delay His punishment of Judah and Israel because of “His servant David”. The greatest honor was, of course, the fact that Jesus Christ would come from his line.

Clearly, David was a special man. But, even though he was the anointed of the Lord, his path was not smooth and easy. He endured many trials and tragedies during his life. One of the great heartaches that he experienced was the subject of Psalm 55.

The first eight verses of the psalm indicate that David was feeling great anguish over something that had happened to him. David wrote, “My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught…my heart is in anguish within me…. Fear and trembling have beset me…. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest – I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.’”

Oh, how often have we echoed David’s thoughts! When problems and trials seen to pile up, and the pressure seems to keep building and building, the thought may come, “If I could only escape to a place where there is peace and quiet!” When the refuge can’t be found, the pressure becomes even worse. Many people today live almost unbearable lives because they cannot find any peace. But the real tragedy is that there IS a place of refuge – in Jesus Christ. He is there, waiting, and able, to help every person face and overcome the trials of life.

Unfortunately, too many people, Christians included, turn from His offer, because they are looking for a physical solution to a spiritual problem. Their answer is to move, or run away from all responsibilities. “If I can make a physical change everything will be better.” But the problem is that the pain and the problem is inside, and the only healing will have to occur within.

David knew that, and he expressed himself in prayer and in writing the psalms that we have today. Yes, his writings were inspired, but that does not diminish what he experienced. In fact, the psalms are a treasure trove of how God works within a person’s life.

David’s problem was doubly tragic, because the apparent betrayal was very personal. In verse 12, he wrote, “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him.” Then, in verse 13 he wrote, “But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.” No, the betrayal came from a close, personal friend.

If we face an enemy, then we may expect to face some confrontation. If someone dislikes, even hates, us; then we can avoid that person. But the betrayal by a close friend? That is never expected. That was what happened to David. As king, it would be hard to have friends. There would be those that would use the friendship to their advantage – others would use if to find out important secrets that only the king would know. So, a person that was a close friend would be rare and treasured. What shock and a sense of loss he must have felt! Again, he was betrayed.

Another person would become angry at God and cut himself off from all people, but David wrote, “As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me.” All the trials and betrayals did was to reaffirm that his hope rested with his relationship with the Lord God.

Now, this did not mean that David faced these trials calmly. In fact, he admitted that he would be voicing his complaints to the Lord. In verses 17-18 he wrote, “Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me. For they are many who strive with me.”

In spite of the struggles of life and the opposition he faced, David knew that God would not forsake Him, and David knew that God would never betray him. He also knew that the Lord would rescue him. So, no matter what happened, David stood firm.

As we consider what happened to David and his response, we need to ask ourselves, “What would I have done? How strong is my faith in the help of the Lord?” It is easy to be faithful and joyous while on the mountaintop and in the sun; but the real test comes in the dark valleys and storms of life. David walked those dark paths, and he found the answer, “But as for me, I trust in you”. Let us pray that we can say the same thing when WE face the trials of our own lives.

Jim Shelburn