Read: Psalm 55:1 – 8
The verses for today describe David’s response to betrayal. He provided a sound spiritual example by going to the Lord in prayer. This does not mean that he was spared from emotional trauma, but he had a means of recourse and a source of strength in his time of trouble.
Think About It: What are some of the powerful descriptive words David uses to describe his feelings? Can I relate to David’s feelings? Is there anything in my life right now from which I would fly away, if I could? What should I do about it?
Pray: For an awareness of my true feelings and the honesty to express them to God.
Read: Psalm 55:9 – 11; 2 Samuel 15 – 18
The historical background of this psalm is not certain, but the time of Absalom’s rebellion fits well. David’s counselor Ahithophel, who went over to Absalom’s side, is a likely candidate for the false friend who caused David’s pain. The times were full of violence and threats. David needed a close friend, and instead discovered that his closest friend betrayed him.
Think About It: To what do I turn for security when I feel threatened? Who are the friends I that I know I can count on? Who thinks of me as such a friend?
Pray: For the grace to turn to God and the faith to trust Him in times of deep trouble; thank God for my friends, and pray for the strength to be a good friend in time of need.
Read: Psalm 55:13 – 14; Proverbs 17:17, 18:24
David described his friend as one who was his equal, his guide, his companion; talk was sweet with this friend, and their fellowship together included worship. They were together on a spiritual as well as emotional level.
Think About It: What makes a good friend? Who among my acquaintances are the kind of friends with whom I have fellowship on a spiritual level?
Pray: For the wisdom and courage to share my spiritual life with my friends.
Read: Psalm 55:12, 18 – 21
As David reflected on the nature of his friend’s betrayal, he alternated between the singular and plural. At the time of Absalom’s rebellion, Ahithophel was unfortunately only the most painful example of the betrayal David experienced at the hands of many others. In David’s explanation of his friends’ betrayal there lies an assumption of what cements good friendship. David’s betrayers exalted themselves over David; therefore a good friend regards his friends as his equals, he doesn’t look down on them. David’s betrayers struck out at him, unprovoked; therefore a good friend never “starts anything” in the way of trouble. David’s betrayers said smooth things but meant him harm; therefore a good friend means what he says and says what he means.
Think About It: Do I meet David’s criteria of good friendship towards my friends?
Pray: That I might be a good friend, and have good friends.
Read: Psalm 55:9, 15; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:59 – 60.
David did not wish his enemies well. He called down imprecations on them. David himself did not seek revenge against his betrayers; he left them in God’s hands. The essence of forgiveness is not in sweet feelings, but in the willingness to leave revenge in God’s hands.
Think About It: Compare David’s anger at his enemies with the forgiving spirit of Jesus and of Stephen. Should I emulate David’s prayer of rage? What if that’s the way I really feel? Am I willing to leave in God’s hands the fate of those who have hurt me? Have I really done so?
Pray: For emotional honesty– a willingness to recognize hurt and anger if that’s really how I feel. For emotional and spiritual growth, so that I might attain to a sweetness of spirit like Stephen’s. If I have been wronged, for the grace to leave the fate of those who have wronged me in the hands of God.
Read: Psalm 55:1,2, 16 – 17; Philippians 4:6-7.
David responded to the rebellion of Absalom and the betrayal of Ahithophel by going to the Lord in prayer. David’s prayer was heartfelt, passionate, and persistent.
Think About It: What did David expect God to do for him? Is my first response in trouble to pray? Are my prayers to God heartfelt, passionate, and persistent like David’s?
Pray: For God to do what I expect of Him; but for me to accept whatever God does or does not do in faith with thanksgiving.
Read: Psalm 55:22 – 23; I Peter 5:5 – 7
The last two verses of Psalm 55 have the feeling of reflections added after the crisis had passed; they give the lesson David learned from his troubles. David’s deliverance did not include everything he hoped for: he lost Absalom. But he retained something even more precious: God’s sustaining grace.
Think About It: Do I reflect on my experiences and learn from them? Do I value God’s sustaining grace sufficiently, so that I can be truly thankful for what God provides even if things don’t turn out as I expected?
Pray: For the wisdom to learn what God is teaching me in my life experiences; for the spiritual insight to see God’s sustaining grace in all of life’s trials.