David was blindsided. Something unexpected had befallen him and he needed God’s attention. His words were urgent: “Listen to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my plea. Listen to me and answer me; I am restless and distraught in my complaint and distracted. . . . My heart is in anguish within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling have come upon me; horror has overwhelmed me.” (Psalm 55:1-2, 4-5, AMP). It is difficult to read this psalm and not feel David’s pain. An anguished heart, great fear that caused him to tremble, and overwhelming horror. It would be fair to say he was in mental, emotional, and psychological distress.
What was the source of this distress? We find the answer in his continued lament: “For it is not an enemy who taunts me-then I could bear it; nor is it one who has hated me who insolently exalts himself against me-then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man my equal and my counsel, my companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together, who walked to the house of God in company” (vv. 12-14). To be betrayed by an enemy is to be expected; to be betrayed by a “familiar friend” hurts to the core. It was a hurt that provoked David to want to get away from everything: “And I say, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. I would wander far away, I would lodge in the [peace of the] wilderness'” (vv. 6-7).
One of the beauties of the book of the psalms is the wide range of emotions the writers felt and expressed. Some of us have walked in David’s shoes; we too have been blindsided. However, unlike some of us, David took his case straight to God and he had very strong opinions as to what God should do with those who had become his enemies: “Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them” (v.15, KJV), and while he was at it, he would “call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (vv. 16-17, KJV). In other words, his prayers would be relentless! This he would do because “He has redeemed my life in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me” (v. 18, AMP).
David said of his friend, “He [my companion] has put out his hands against those who were at peace with him; he has broken his covenant [of friendship and loyalty]. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but his heart was hostile; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords” (vv. 20-21). We do not know what motivated the betrayal, but clearly David took it hard. Are you relating to him? It is worth remembering his admonition: “Cast your burden on the Lord [release it] and He will sustain and uphold you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (slip, fall, fail). But You, O God, . . . I will [boldly and unwaveringly] trust in You” (vv. 22-23). Read those verses again. It is comforting to know that in the midst of adversity, especially when we have been blindsided, we can release our burden to the One who is able to sustain und uphold us. Just ask David.