Trust, not Flight
Father, often my thanks and praise to You is unspoken. I now lift my voice in praise to You.
Read Psalm 55:1-23
 For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Psalm 55 is the spiritual case-history of a man who learned to bear his burdens. Ultimately he cast his burden upon the Lord after he found other things didn’t work” (A. Leonard Griffith). The psalm is a reminder that God does support us.
I take a pencil and paper and trace on it the triangular shape of David’s thoughts as they jerk back and forth from himself towards God (called “you” or “he”) and towards his enemies (called “they” or “he” and, most painfully, “you, my close friend”). It would be best not to underestimate his desperate personal straits (“distraught,” “anguish,” “terrors of death”) and the anarchy abroad in the city (10-12), presumably Jerusalem, which makes him think, first of all, of flight. Am I tempted to run away from some situation, some struggle, some person, which I ought to face?
Worst of all is the treachery of a former soul-friend who has violated the covenant of friendship and whose smooth talk now stabs like a sword. I recollect that the Gospels draw attention to the fact that Judas was “one of the twelve” (Mark 14:43), Jesus’ innermost circle. I also sorrowfully recall David’s own fatal treachery towards Uriah, one of his top 30 friends (2 Sam. 23:39). Am I myself guilty of some practices that I publicly deplore?
In this psalm we observe with relief how sorrow and anger, fear and desperation, and panic and faith interact in a psalm of lament which is also God’s revelation. God is not a stranger to our sorrow; he is the best destination for vengeful thoughts–justified or not. This psalm and others like it set before us a path to follow away from selfish flight and avoidance, through constant prayer (17), to a God who reigns (19). It leads me to the conviction that I may cast “whatever my lot is” (22, literally) upon the Lord, not so that he will swiftly remove it, but so that he will sustain me through it. Yes, Lord, I will trust in You (23).
How do you tend to respond to problems? Deny they exist? Blame someone else? Escape? Tackle them head-on? What can you learn from the psalmist?
Loving Father, life serves up problems large and small. May I always trust You, not as a last chance but as a first choice.
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