March 8, 2018: Cast Your Burden on the LordJosh Moody
David is once again crying out to God in prayer. “Give ear to my prayer, O God” (55:1). This time it is for a particularly pernicious attack on him personally. How do you respond when someone attacks you? Learn from David’s example. He turns to God in prayer.
The need is great “because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me” (55:3).
He is internally disturbed, as so often we are when someone attacks us. “Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me” (55:5).
He has a simple longing: escape! “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest…I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest” (55:6, 8). When we are under attack, we naturally enough want to run away and hide—to find a quiet place to bury our head and escape from all the hassle and danger.
So David prays that God would “divide their tongues” (55:9). In the same way that God spread confusion among the people of Babel, so David prays that those who attack him would end up attacking one another. That there would no united front against him but rather splintered fragments attacking themselves: “a divided tongue.”
What makes this particular attack against David so hard is not only that it is yet another example of what he sees in the city (“I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night…,” 55:9-10). What makes this so hard is that the attack is coming from someone he had trusted, from a companion, even a friend. “But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend” (55:13). It is one thing to have enemies. It is another thing to be betrayed by people you trusted. That is a terrible experience. It undermines your confidence, your sense of value, and if not addressed, it can prevent you from being able to have trusting relationships with other people.
David wants those who attacked him to be judged by God: “Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive” (55:15). It is not our job to judge; that is God’s. But there is a judge. And we can rest assured that those who oppose the kingdom of God, who do not repent, they will be judged.
But again David prays. “But I call to God, and the LORD will save me” (55:16).
Once more David relays the pain of his betrayal:
His speech was smooth as butter,
yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords. (55:21).
What should you do when you experience this kind of betrayal? Learn from David’s example. Now David makes that example crystal clear in a sentence of specific instruction to those who will read his psalm:
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved. (55:22).
Cast your burden upon God! Give him the burden! Let him carry the pain! Let him be judge!
God “will cast them down,” but as for David he “will trust” in God (55:23).