Should I Stay or Should I Go – Reflection on Psalm 55

Psalm 55:1-23

Betrayed

You can’t believe what you are hearing! Your friend, your best friend, shares what you told them in confidence. You’ve been betrayed! If it was anyone else you wouldn’t be surprised, but you though your friend was on your side. Now you wonder if he was ever really a friend. Perhaps all the kind words were a facade. Maybe he was trying to ‘suck you in’ so that he could destroy you!

The psalmist has been betrayed by a close friend. We don’t expect those closest to us to cause us pain and suffering so when it happens, it can be devastating. For David, betrayal comes as a shock. Trouble from an enemy is to be expected, but trouble from a friend cuts him to the heart.

He doesn’t have very good things to say about this “friend” who’s words seem soothing, but underneath they are sharp and cutting. The friend’s betrayal is life-threatening and David’s heart is beating because of his terror and fear of death. David’s friend wants to do away with him!

Danger Within

His comment regarding the city, “…I see violence and conflict in the city. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders,but the real danger is wickedness within the city” also applies to his life. As he tries to protect himself from outward danger via enemies, the one closest to him was the real danger.

David dreams of fleeing to the wilderness to get a way from this threat. His trouble overwhelms him and flying away seems to be his best option. Who hasn’t entertained dreams of leaving all their troubles behind? As young children we might have even pack up our favorite stuffed animal and took off down the road, only to realize we didn’t know where we were heading and ran back to the safety of home.

Sometimes as adults we think the best option is to leave. We just want the trouble to end. Believing that a change in situation is our only option, we may leave, by changing careers or location. As a pastor, sometimes I believe going to a new church will solve all of my problems. If only I could flee from the troubling people and situations, I believe all will be well.

Dragging Baggage Around

I’ve discovered that leaving rarely fixes anything. While we might think our danger is “outside” in our troubling situations, the real danger lies within us! We tend to drag our troubles with us from place to place. Leaving may change the scenery, but the new situation brings with it the same old issues. In all of our travels one thing remains constant; we can’t get away from ourselves.

Even though David yearns to flee to the desert, he probably realizes running won’t do much good. In the end, he runs to the only One who can provide comfort, healing, support, and hope. He places his trust and future in God’s hands.

While he continues to hope and pray for God’s justice to come, he places his trust in God. He knows that he does not need to flee because God will rescue him..

Running From or Running To

Instead of running from his trouble, David runs to God. He calls on the Lord (Psalm 55:16) knowing God will rescue him. Morning and evening he calls out morning, noon, and evening, and God hears his cries of distress. He knows that God hears him and will rescue him from all of his trouble. He later reminds us to give all of our burdens to the Lord and he will take care of us (Psalm 55:22).

He finds peace, not by running away, but by running to God. He finds hope within his situation.

Where Do We Go?

Where do we turn when life gets overwhelming? Maybe a close friend hasn’t betrayed us. Perhaps we don’t know what it is like to have someone secretly and stealthy seek to destroy us. Nevertheless, we have all had those times when we felt our troubles would overtake us and we wanted to run. Where do we turn? Where do we go? Do we flee to get away from our trouble and find a new start? Or do we flee to God?

The psalmist finds peace in God. He has no need to flee to the desert. As he stays and cries out to God, he discovers that God can be trusted. He finds that God rescues and delivers.

We will face trouble. Maybe trouble is simply an opportunity to run to God and discover what David discovered; God rescues us. We can find peace and hope even if our location or situation don’t change. God is with us in the storm and he will see us through our troubles.

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