Psalm 55

Psalm 55.

What I appreciate about the psalms is that they are filled with a complex range of human emotions. The psalms contain joy, honor, peace, discipline, fear, anger, disappointment, sadness. The psalms remind us of the fullness of human life.

In this psalm, the psalmist declares his horror and deep distress. He has been betrayed by his friend:

“Now it is not an enemy who insults me—
otherwise I could bear it;
it is not a foe who rises up against me—
otherwise I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man who is my peer,
my companion and good friend!
We used to have close fellowship;
we walked with the crowd into the house of God.”

The psalmist responds to his friend’s betrayal by calling on God to vindicate him:

“God, You will bring them down
to the Pit of destruction;
men of bloodshed and treachery
will not live out half their days.
But I will trust in You.”

I am fortunate enough to say that I have not experienced this sort of distress. I have not been betrayed in this way by a friend. But I can only imagine the heartache and anger the psalmist feels. His call for justice is understandable.

But I am also mindful of another who was betrayed. One of his followers gave him over to death. His friends abandoned him in his hour of need. One of his closest companions disavowed any connection to him. He was brought down to the Pit of destruction.

But he did not call for vengeance. He did not call for bloodshed. His own blood was spilled, so that he could bring reconciliation to all. He embraced his friends. He did not name them in their weakness, but called them into strength.

May that same spirit of forgiveness animate my life.

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