Psalm 55 is about treachery and betrayal. The Psalmist, David, felt surrounded by enemies, under pressure and facing trouble (v3). His heart was in anguish as he felt death was nearby, while fear, trembling and horror filled his thoughts (vv4,5). His desire was to have wings like a dove so he could fly to safety (v6).
The reason for these feelings becomes clear in verses 12-14 where it transpires that someone who had once been a close friend had betrayed him. This was someone with whom he had shared meals, welcomed into his home, worshipped with and described as a companion. This is a deep and personal betrayal indeed.
Not only is there the betrayal itself, and with it the loss of trust, friendship and fellowship that now exists in the void, but there is also hindsight to deal with. Hindsight can be a friend or foe, and in this case it allows David to recall conversations and acts which seemed kind, genuine and well-intentioned at the time but now are seen to be false. The betrayers’ speech was ‘smooth as butter’ and ‘softer than oil’ but in the depths of his heart there was only war and drawn swords (v21). The betrayal struck as deeply as the friendship once had been.
This may be your experience. Maybe you have suffered the most profound of betrayals: a spouse who is unfaithful leaving you to wonder whether anything of what you had were true; a parent who washes their hands of you and wants nothing to do with you; a sibling who promised to stand with you through thick and thin but no longer wants to be associated with you; a business partner who took everything and ran, while destroying your reputation in the process; a friend who knew everything about you but turned out to be two-faced as they stopped returning your calls and drew poisoned your other friends against you as well.
These things hurt. Betrayal always does.
These people hurt you. Betrayers always do.
But the psalmist while expressing his hurt also helps to show us how to respond: ‘But I call to God’ (v16). His port of call is God! Simple, but effective! People will come and go but God is ever present. David writes that God Himself can be contacted throughout the day – morning and evening and noon – and He will hear. Not only that but He will save and redeem (vv16-18).
David also reminds us that we can cast any burden we have, no matter how large or small, and He will sustain you. In complete contrast to the fickleness of human relationships, God will never allow the righteous to be shaken. There is a security and safety in the faithfulness of God.
Feeling betrayed, abandoned, let down, hurt and alone? Then follow the Psalmist’s lead and ‘Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you’ (v22).