May 18 2023
Today, Thursday May 18
“Violence And Strife in The City”
Psalm 55:6-15; 20-21
“So I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, And remain in the wilderness. Selah
I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest."
Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, For I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go around it on its walls; Iniquity and trouble are also in the midst of it. Destruction is in its midst; Oppression and deceit do not depart from its streets.
For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, And walked to the house of God in the throng. Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.
He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He has broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, But war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.
This is another one of the Psalms that David wrote when he was fleeing for his life because his son Absalom had stolen the hearts of the people and turned them against his father. You can read the history and circumstances of this Psalm in 2 Samuel 15-16. It's likely that this psalm was written early in Absalom's rebellion, when David was still in Jerusalem (vv. 9-11), and the revolt was gathering momentum. If so, then the "friend" of verses 12-14 and 20-21 had to be David's counselor Ahithophel who had sided with Absalom. Psalm 55 reveals four possible approaches to handling the painful problems and battles of life.
In verses 1-5, David’s first focus was to look within at his own feelings. But before he did that, he cried out to God in prayer (vv. 1-2). In verses 6-8, David expressed what most of us want to do when we feel like we have been hurt by our friends and family. He wanted to “fly away like a dove to the wilderness and never come back”.
Now in verses 9-15, David focused on the reality of the circumstances around him. David wasn't living in denial; he knew what was going on around him. Have you ever known someone who lives in complete denial of their problems? I’ve known some people who were “so positive” and optimistic that they would never admit that they even had a problem. And as a result, they never attempted to do anything to resolve them or deal with them. It was like they lived in a dream world.
David, hurt as he was by his son Absolom’s rebellion and revolt to take over the kingdom, still took time to evaluate the situation and continued to directed operations in a masterful manner, worthy of his reputation. What did he see? “For I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go around it on its walls; Iniquity and trouble are also in the midst of it. Destruction is in its midst; Oppression and deceit do not depart from its streets” (vv. 9-11). He saw violence, confusion, chaos, division, lawlessness, and trouble. He saw destruction of property, and the people being oppressed by deceit and corruption.
Goodness! That sounds almost the same as what we see in our beloved country today! Of course this is always what happens when someone or a group of people are selfishly trying to have their own way rather than God’s way. It was about money, greed, and power! It was about who was in control! Only God can help David out of this mess and my friend only God can bring peace and resolution to our problems in our country today.
Among the rebels, David singled out one person who broke his heart, and that was Ahithophel, "a man like myself." As David's counselor, Ahithophel was not equal to the king in rank or authority, but he was very close to David. They had worshipped the Lord together, but now Ahithophel was counseling David's son to rebel against his father! In verses 20-21, David again mentioned Ahithophel, his violation of the covenant of friendship with David, and his deceptive persuasive speech. But God used Hushai to overrule Ahithophel's plans so that Absalom was defeated and David spared (2 Sam. 17). The picture in verse 15 reminds us of God's judgment on Korah, Dathan and Abiram because of their rebellion against Moses (Num. 16:28-33). David was God's anointed king, and the Lord protected him.
We can’t live in denial of our problems in our personal lives or country, but we can face them by praying and trusting God to do what only He can do. And in the meantime, He “He will sustain us” in the midst of them!