Friday, January 7, 2011

Psalm 55

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;
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.

Questions to consider:

  • Determine the divisions in David's thought here.
  • What is his first reaction to the horror of his suspicions?
  • What is the change in his emotions as his suspicions become more well-founded?
  • What does he want from God for the enemy? For himself? On what basis?
  • How can David be so sure of the outcome?
Possibilities for prayer:

Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.

Do you believe that verse 22 is true? So many of the psalms seem to have a similar theme running through them: life is difficult, frightening, and often ugly, but trusting in God is the only way to make it through. This verse seems to suggest a similar thing: by trusting in God, we will never be "shaken." Maybe there have been times in your life when it not felt like that was the case, and you have felt shaken to your very core. But there's an important introductory piece to this message of hope; a command to cast your cares on the Lord is given. That doesn't mean idly saying "I'm giving these things to you, God" but continuing to bear their burden. It means surrendering them, wholly and completely to God with confidence that God can take care of them, and you. Today, let's pray for the ability to genuinely surrender our cares and burdens, and the faith to be truly sustained by God.