July 20th Psalm 55
Maschil, A Psalm of David
1: Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. 2: Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; 3: Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. 4: My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. 5: Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. 6: And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. 7: Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. 8: I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. 9: Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. 10: Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. 11: Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. 12: For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. 14: We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. 15: Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them. 16: As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. 17: Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. 18: He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me. 19: God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God. 20: He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. 21: The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. 22: Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. 23: But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.
To the chief musician upon Jonath-elem-rechokim
Micham of David when the Philistines took him to Gath
A Prayer of Trust
1: Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. 2: Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. 3: What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4: In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. 5: Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil. 6: They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul. 7: Shall they escape by iniquity? In thine anger cast down the people, O God. 8: Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? 9: When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. 10: In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word. 11: In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. 12: Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. 13: For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
To the chief musician, Al-taschith
Today we have been reading Psalm 55 & 56. Psalm 55 is a Maschil because it is a Psalm in which David is teaching something. He begins by calling on the Lord to hear him, he says open your ear to me and do not hide yourself away from my prayer. He says I am mourning and making noises because of my troubles. David’s reason for this state is that his enemies oppress him and hate him. David frankly confesses that he is terrified of death and very sorely troubled. He says I am all of a tremble and the horror of it has overwhelmed me. I said to myself if only I had wings lie a dove then I would fly away and be at peace. Then I would go about in the wilderness. Think about that !! I would quickly escape from the storm that has come over my life. Then David calls on the Lord to act for him and destroy his enemies and confuse their plots against him. I have seen acts of murder in the city. Day and night his enemies go about doing mischief. The streets are full of intrigue and the shadows of assassins. He says my enemies are not another army. I could have got my head around that. If that were the case then we would call out the captains and set the battle in array. But this is treachery, from my friends and acquaintances. We once talked in confidence and walked together to worship the Lord. So let death take hold of them and may they quickly die, because wickedness is in their homes and between them. Who can David turn to when his ‘friends and family plot again him? David says, I will call upon God and the LORD will save me from them. I will pray morning, noon and night and I will pray out loud to the Lord and he will hear me I know it. The Lord, says David, has delivered my life from out of the battle that was set against me, because there were many of them against me. The Lord will hear me and judge them because he remains from ancient times. Think about that !! They do not fear the Lord because they do not see God changing things. They fight against those who are at peace with them and break their promises. Their words are as smooth as butter but they have war in their minds. His words are slick as oil yet their swords are drawn. I will cast all my burden on the Lord because he will keep me going and he will never allow the righteous to be disturbed. You Oh Lord, says David, will bring them down to the grave. These men of blood and deceit will not live out half their lives, but I will trust in you O Lord. This Psalm was addressed to the chief choir master regarding the dove of the distant Terebinths. This is a pictorial description of David flying away from the murderous plots of Absalom his son. Psalm 56 is a Michtam which probably indicates a certain tune. And it describes the time when David was alone and taken by the Philistines to Gath. David says, be merciful to me O Lord because men would devour me. He tells the Lord that he has many enemies that want to murder him. He says when fear comes on me I turn and trust in you and then I am not afraid of what men could do to me. Everyday they twist my words and everything they think about is evil against me. They gather to watch me they make note of every step I take and they lie in ambush for me. It is actually a remarkable thing that David was not secretly assassinated by his foes. This is a testimony to David’s watchfulness in prayer and the Lords protection. David says, Will they escape the judgment of the Lord on their sin? In your anger strike them down, O God. You know all my wanderings – put my tears in a bottle. Have you not written them all in your book? Lord when I cry to you turn my enemies back from attacking me because I know that you are on my side. I will bring my praises to the word of the Lord. In God have I put my trust therefore I will not be afraid what men could do to me. I will do my duty according to law – I will keep my vows says David and I will render praises to you O Lord, because you have delivered my life. Will you not prevent my feet from slipping so that I may walk before you in the light of life? This Psalm is also addressed to the choir master with the word ‘Al-taschith’ which means ‘Do not destroy’.
- How does David describe the persecution that he experiences?
- How does David call upon the Lord?
- How does David express his hope in God?