Psalm 55

For the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A contemplation by David.
1 Listen to my prayer, God. Don’t hide yourself from my supplication. 2 Attend to me, and answer me. I am restless in my complaint, and moan, 3 because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they bring suffering on me. In anger they hold a grudge against me. 4 My heart is severely pained within me. The terrors of death have fallen on me. 5 Fearfulness and trembling have come on me. Horror has overwhelmed me. 6 I said, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! Then I would fly away, and be at rest. 7 Behold, then I would wander far off. I would lodge in the wilderness.” Selah. 8 “I would hurry to a shelter from the stormy wind and storm.” 9 Confuse them, Lord, and confound their language, for I have seen violence and strife in the city. 10 Day and night they prowl around on its walls. Malice and abuse are also within her. 11 Destructive forces are within her. Threats and lies don’t depart from her streets. 12 For it was not an enemy who insulted me, then I could have endured it. Neither was it he who hated me who raised himself up against me, then I would have hidden myself from him. 13 But it was you, a man like me, my companion, and my familiar friend. 14 We took sweet fellowship together. We walked in God’s house with company. 15 Let death come suddenly on them. Let them go down alive into Sheol. For wickedness is amongst them, in their dwelling. 16 As for me, I will call on God. The LORD will save me. 17 Evening, morning, and at noon, I will cry out in distress. He will hear my voice. 18 He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, although there are many who oppose me. 19 God, who is enthroned forever, will hear, and answer them. Selah. They never change, who don’t fear God. 20 He raises his hands against his friends. He has violated his covenant. 21 His mouth was smooth as butter, but his heart was war. His words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be moved. 23 But you, God, will bring them down into the pit of destruction. Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days, but I will trust in you.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–8

In these verses we have, 1. David praying. Prayer is a salve for every sore, and a relief to the spirit under every burden. 2. David weeping. Griefs are thus, in some measure, lessened, while those increase that have no vent given them. David in great alarm. We may well suppose him to be so, upon the breaking out of Absalom’s conspiracy, and the falling away of the people. Horror overwhelmed him. Probably the remembrance of his sin in the matter of Uriah added much to the terror. When under a guilty conscience we must mourn in our complaint, and even strong believers have for a time been filled with horror. But none ever was so overwhelmed as the holy Jesus, when it pleased the Lord to put him to grief, and to make his soul an offering for our sins. In his agony he prayed more earnestly, and was heard and delivered; trusting in him, and following him, we shall be supported under, and carried through all trials. See how David was weary of the treachery and ingratitude of men, and the cares and disappointments of his high station: he longed to hide himself in some desert from the fury and fickleness of his people. He aimed not at victory, but rest; a barren wilderness, so that he might be quiet. The wisest and best of men most earnestly covet peace and quietness, and the more when vexed and wearied with noise and clamour. This makes death desirable to a child of God, that it is a final escape from all the storms and tempests of this world, to perfect and everlasting rest.

Verses 9–15

No wickedness so distresses the believer, as that which he witnesses in those who profess to be of the church of God. Let us not be surprised at the corruptions and disorders of the church on earth, but long to see the New Jerusalem. He complains of one that had been very industrious against him. God often destroys the enemies of the church by dividing them. And an interest divided against itself cannot long stand. The true Christian must expect trials from professed friends, from those with whom he has been united; this will be very painful; but by looking unto Jesus we shall be enabled to bear it. Christ was betrayed by a companion, a disciple, an apostle, who resembled Ahithophel in his crimes and doom. Both were speedily overtaken by Divine vengeance. And this prayer is a prophecy of the utter, the everlasting ruin, of all who oppose and rebel against the Messiah.

Verses 16–23

In every trial let us call upon the Lord, and he will save us. He shall hear us, and not blame us for coming too often; the oftener the more welcome. David had thought all were against him; but now he sees there were many with him, more than he supposed; and the glory of this he gives to God, for it is he that raises us up friends, and makes them faithful to us. There are more true Christians, and believers have more real friends, than in their gloomy hours they suppose. His enemies should be reckoned with, and brought down; they could not ease themselves of their fears, as David could, by faith in God. Mortal men, though ever so high and strong, will easily be crushed by an eternal God. Those who are not reclaimed by the rod of affliction, will certainly be brought down to the pit of destruction. The burden of afflictions is very heavy, especially when attended with the temptations of Satan; there is also the burden of sin and corruption. The only relief under it is, to look to Christ, who bore it. Whatever it is that thou desirest God should give thee, leave it to him to give it in his own way and time. Care is a burden, it makes the heart stoop. We must commit our ways and works to the Lord; let him do as seemeth him good, and let us be satisfied. To cast our burden upon God, is to rest upon his providence and promise. And if we do so, he will carry us in the arms of his power, as a nurse carries a child; and will strengthen our spirits by his Spirit, so that they shall sustain the trial. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved; to be so shaken by any troubles, as to quit their duty to God, or their comfort in him. He will not suffer them to be utterly cast down. He, who bore the burden of our sorrows, desires us to leave to him to bear the burden of our cares, that, as he knows what is best for us, he may provide it accordingly. Why do not we trust Christ to govern the world which he redeemed?

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