Psalm 55 is a heartfelt and poignant prayer, a cry for divine help in a time of profound distress and betrayal. The psalmist beseeches God to listen to his supplication, expressing deep anguish caused by treachery of enemies and weight of oppression.
The psalm opens with a fervent plea to God, urging God to hear the prayer and not hide from supplication. The psalmist is in a state of mourning, deeply troubled and making his distress known. The cause of distress is clear: the voice of the enemy, the oppression of the wicked, and the unjust casting of iniquity upon them. The psalmist is enduring both physical and emotional suffering, with terrors of death and overwhelming fear and trembling.
Amidst this turmoil, the psalmist yearns for escape, even desiring the wings of a dove to fly away and find rest. The psalmist expresses a desire to flee to a distant wilderness to find solace and protection from the storm. This yearning for escape underlines the psalmist’s need for refuge from current circumstances.
The city is depicted as a place of violence, strife, wickedness, deceit and guile, a stark contrast to the refuge the psalmist seeks. Particularly painful is that the betrayal and reproach the psalmist faces come from someone he considered an equal, a guide and an acquaintance. This deep betrayal only adds to the psalmist’s anguish.
The psalmist calls for divine intervention, asking the Lord to destroy and divide the tongues of those who perpetrate violence and strife in the city. In the midst of this turmoil, the psalmist turns to God, placing faith in divine deliverance. The psalmist commits to fervent and regular prayer, confident that the Lord will save him from his troubles.
The psalmist’s trust in God’s intervention and plea for justice are central themes in this prayer. This expresses contrast between the treacherous words and intentions of enemies and steadfastness and support we find in God. While the psalmist acknowledges wickedness around him, he trusts that God will sustain the righteous and ultimately bring justice to those who have acted deceitfully.
Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.
Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise;
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.
My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me.
Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Lo, then would I 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 about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.
Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
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:
But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me.
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.
God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.
He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath 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 were they drawn swords.
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
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.
Key Themes Of The Psalm For Reflection | Love Revealed By Jesus Christ
- Desperate Cry For Help: The psalmist begins by urgently calling upon God to hear his supplication, highlighting deep distress and need for divine intervention.
- Betrayal And Oppression: The psalmist vividly describes the source of their distress, which stems from the voice of enemies, oppression by the wicked, and false accusations. The theme of betrayal is central to the psalm.
- Emotional Turmoil: The psalmist paints a vivid picture of his emotional state, using words including ‘mourning’, ‘fearfulness’, ‘trembling’, and ‘horror’ to convey depth of anguish.
- Longing For Escape: The psalmist yearns for a way to escape his troubles, expressing a desire to fly away like a dove to find rest and solace in a distant wilderness.
- Betrayal By An Acquaintance: The psalmist’s pain is magnified by the betrayal of someone he considered an equal, a guide and an acquaintance. This betrayal intensifies distress.
- Trust In Divine Intervention: Despite suffering, the psalmist places trust in God, believing that God will hear his cries, deliver him, and bring justice to his enemies.
- Plea For Justice: The psalmist calls upon God to destroy the tongues of his enemies and to deliver his from violence and strife in the city, emphasizing need for divine justice.
- Contrast Between Deceitful Words And God’s Support: The psalmist highlights the contrast between the treacherous words of enemies and the support and sustenance he finds in God, reinforcing faith in divine intervention.
- Commitment To Prayer: The psalmist commits to regular and fervent prayer, underscoring importance of seeking God’s help in times of trouble.
- Confidence In God’s Sustenance: The psalmist trusts that God will sustain the righteous and provide refuge, even in the face of deceitful and violent adversaries.
- Hope For Justice: The psalmist expresses hope that God will bring down those who have acted wickedly and treacherously, reaffirming faith in God’s righteousness.