Plead the 55th

I’m marching through the book of Numbers now in my Bible reading.  Lately, it’s been the Psalm selections that have gotten to me.  Today was no exception.

David sets the scene in Psalm 55.  He’s scared.  His enemies surround him. He calls out to God.

Listen to my prayer, O God.
    Do not ignore my cry for help!
 Please listen and answer me,
    for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.
My enemies shout at me,
    making loud and wicked threats.
They bring trouble on me
    and angrily hunt me down.

My heart pounds in my chest.
    The terror of death assaults me.
 Fear and trembling overwhelm me,
    and I can’t stop shaking.
 Oh, that I had wings like a dove;
    then I would fly away and rest!
 I would fly far away
    to the quiet of the wilderness.    Interlude
 How quickly I would escape—
    far from this wild storm of hatred. Ps. 55:1-8

Alas, no run-of-the-mill enemy taunts him. David outlines a much deeper betrayal.

It is not an enemy who taunts me—
    I could bear that.
It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—
    I could have hidden from them.
 Instead, it is you—my equal,
    my companion and close friend.
What good fellowship we once enjoyed
    as we walked together to the house of God. Ps. 55:13-14

David makes his plea.

But I will call on God,
    and the Lord will rescue me.
Morning, noon, and night
    I cry out in my distress,
    and the Lord hears my voice. Ps. 55:16-17

Yahweh had saved him from bears, lions *and* Goliath.  He turns to God now in what must have been extreme emotional turmoil. Not a new scene for David, to be sure, but for the warrior-king to say this

Give your burdens to the Lord,
    and he will take care of you.
    He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Ps. 55:22

David didn’t say, “Gird your loins for the battle.  Steel yourself for the enemy’s blows. Take it like a man!”


He advised surrendering your burdens to God. What counts as a burden? All those things we lug around are too heavy for us. Condemnation, my pet project. Jealousy. Frustration. Anger. Bitterness. Regret. Unforgiveness.  Often, our feelings have merit.  Situations turned sour. People have hurt us.  They betrayed us. But we can’t fix it. That’s the meat of the matter. We need to let God do it. Even better, it’s not our responsibility. Our part is to forgive and extend kindness.

I submit if we steel ourselves, we end up with walled hearts.  Our attempts at self-preservation will shut others out. Now, back to to truth. People will hurt us. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes through misunderstandings. I can guarantee you that. But our hearts must remain open and tender. That, friends, takes real bravery. We can only do it as we trust in the Lord.