WHEN FRIENDS FAIL
I cast my cares on You, because I know You care about me (1 Pet. 5:7).
Read Psalm 55
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil[b] 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;[c]
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.
a Psalm 55:1 In Hebrew texts 55:1-23 is numbered 55:2-24.
b Psalm 55:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
c Psalm 55:7 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and in the middle of verse 19.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhere do you turn when someone hurts you?
We’re not so surprised when strangers or enemies attack us. But there is a particular anguish (5,6) when we’re betrayed by a friend.
David’s attacker is not outside the city walls—he’s much closer to home. This was a friend (12,13). More than that, this was a fellow believer—someone who worshipped alongside David and whose fellowship he’d cherished (14). And now he’s turned out to be two-faced and turned on David. Behind smooth words was a selfish, personal agenda. He broke his covenant—a promise of relational faithfulness—and cut David to the heart (20,21).
There is something agonizingly damaging about broken trust. And so this psalm is not a linear prayer. It’s a jumble of despair and trust in God, because that’s what hurt like this feels like.
David cries to God for help (1,2a,9–11,15), cries out his pain (2b–8), faces the problem (12–14,20,21) and is sure of God’s care (16–19,22,23). But then he cycles through these all again. David wishes he could escape (6,7), but he can’t. There’s nothing he can do and no one he can turn to. But he cries to God, and in the end finds confidence that a good and just God will carry his children safely and right all wrongs (22,23).
Has someone broken your trust? Do you need to cry out your anguish to God today? Or do you need to seek his help to forgive? Take the first step toward healing today.
“Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me…” (1,2).