An exposition of Psalm 55:1-23. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, September 12, 2010.
It is a story that is as old as time. Yet its pain is real and devastating. Is there an ugly concept than betrayal? Is there anything that hurts as bad as being betrayed by a trusted friend? We’ve all experienced it to a degree. Its starts early when your best friend refused to pick you to be on his team just because you can’t run very fast. When you’re a kid that is devastating. As you grow older the situations become more intense and the pain is increased. In junior high or high school you “opened up” to a trusted friend and revealed your darkest secrets only to have them broadcast throughout the school. You were embarrassed that everyone knew – but worse you were hurt because your friend stabbed you in the back. It may be that you have known the betrayal of a spouse or you’ve been the victim of office politics and your best friend got your promotion. We all know something of the pain of being betrayed and so we identify with David in Psalm 55. Psalms 52, 54 and 55 have something in common. Each involves David’s betrayal by some person or group. In Psalm 52 he is betrayed by Doeg, Saul’s chief shepherd. In Psalm 54 he is betrayed by his own countrymen. In Psalm 55 David experiences the pain of betrayal by a trusted friend.
Text: Psalm 55:1-23
There has been some speculation as to who this friend was. Some suggest that it was Ahithophel David’s most trusted counselor who sided with David’s son Absalom during Absalom’s rebellion. The story is recorded in 2 Samuel 15-17 but the circumstances surrounding that betrayal do not seem to fit with the words of this Psalm. We are not given any clues in the title and we must remember that Scripture does not include everything David did or every relationship he had. The bottom line is we don’t know who the betrayer was or in what context it occurred.
But as we walk through the Psalm together I think we learn a valuable lesson for those times when we feel the sting of betrayal.
Thesis: In times of great upheaval and crushing betrayal, the righteous find refuge in the covenant-keeping God.
This Psalm is divided into three stanzas.
- The righteous instinctively turn to God in times of great trouble. (55:1-8)
- The righteous passionately plead for God’s intervention. (55:9-15)
- Ultimately the righteous submit to God’s sovereign rule. (55:16-22)
David expresses the same sentiments as Peter in 1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Casting your cares upon him enables you to be steadfast. David says there are at least three reasons for why you should trust God.
- He will sustain you.
- He will never let the righteous fall.
- He will bring down the wicked.
What do you do when all hell breaks loose in your life? Flee to Christ. Find peace and comfort in the God who is faithful. The righteous find refuge in the covenant-keeping God.