Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
In Psalm 55, the poet is once again overwhelmed by trouble and doubt.
– His enemies threaten him (v. 3).
– His thoughts trouble him (v. 2).
– His city is rife with violence and abuse (v. 9)
– His friend betrayed him (v. 13).
– He is overwhelmed with horror (v. 5).
Of his traitorous friend he says:
His talk is smooth as butter,
Yet war is in his heart.
His words are more soothing than oil,
Yet they are drawn swords (v. 21).
The poet makes two responses to his troubles. His first impulse is to run away. He says,
Oh that I had wings like a dove,
I would fly away and be at rest (v. 6).
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
Far from the tempest and storm (v. 8).
I identify with that prayer. “God, don’t let it be my problem. Make it all go away. Take me to an island of peace far from the maddening crowd, far from the noise of the city, far from evil and distress. Help me escape the war zone that is my life.”
The poet’s second response to trouble goes like this:
Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you
He will never let
the righteous be shaken (v. 22).
Hear us, O God. Our thoughts trouble us when we consider the state of the world and the state of our nation and the state of our own hearts. We thought the bomb would protect our western civilization, but enemies use our technology to build their own bombs. We thought medical science would cure human disease, but viruses change and adapt, outwitting our best efforts. We thought psychology and reason and mood-enhancing drugs would create mental health and stability, but our progress is slow and uncertain.
Like the poet we see poverty and crime in our cities, violence and strife, malice and abuse. Opioids made to ease pain have spawned an addiction crisis far worse than we could have imagined. Once-vibrant inner cities are violent slums. Lord, we want to escape the noise and confusion and evil. We want to fly to the wilderness, to a place of unspoiled beauty. But if we went there, would we take our evil with us?
With the poet, we turn our hearts to you, saying,
We call to God
and the Lord saves us.
Evening, morning and noon
We cry out in distress
and you hear our voice (vv. 16-17).
You see us, God. You hear us. You call yourself our father, you have adopted us as your children. Look on our world of violence and evil. Remember us when friends betray us, remember us when the public discourse is dishonest and dishonourable, remember us when our enemies plan violence against us, when
Their talk is smooth as butter,
but war is in their hearts (v. 21).
With the poet we pray,
Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you (v. 22).
But as for me, I trust in you, Lord (v. 23).
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.