Confidence in Troubled Times
A psalm of David when he fled from his son Absalom.(A)
A Night Prayer
For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A psalm of David.
1 Answer me when I call,
God, who vindicates me.[a]
You freed me from affliction;
be gracious to me and hear my prayer.
2 How long, exalted ones,[b] will my honor be insulted?
How long will you love what is worthless
and pursue a lie? Selah
3 Know that the Lord has set apart
the faithful for himself;
the Lord will hear when I call to him.
4 Be angry[c] and do not sin;
reflect in your heart while on your bed and be silent. Selah
5 Offer sacrifices in righteousness[d]
and trust in the Lord.
6 Many are asking, “Who can show us anything good?”
Let the light of your face shine on us, Lord.
7 You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and new wine abound.
8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety.
Oppression by the Wicked
For the choir director: according to Sheminith. A psalm of David.
1 Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains;
the loyal have disappeared from the human race.[a]
2 They lie to one another;
they speak with flattering lips and deceptive hearts.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips
and the tongue that speaks boastfully.
4 They say, “Through our tongues we have power;
our lips are our own—who can be our master?”
5 “Because of the devastation of the needy
and the groaning of the poor,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord.
“I will provide safety for the one who longs for it.”
6 The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in an earthen furnace,
purified seven times.
1 Lord, I call to you;
my rock, do not be deaf to me.
If you remain silent to me,
I will be like those going down to the Pit.
2 Listen to the sound of my pleading
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your holy sanctuary.
3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with the evildoers,
who speak in friendly ways with their neighbors
while malice is in their hearts.
4 Repay them according to what they have done—
according to the evil of their deeds.
Repay them according to the work of their hands;
give them back what they deserve.
5 Because they do not consider
what the Lord has done
or the work of his hands,
he will tear them down and not rebuild them.
6 Blessed be the Lord,
for he has heard the sound of my pleading.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
Therefore my heart celebrates,
and I give thanks to him with my song.
8 The Lord is the strength of his people;[a]
he is a stronghold of salvation for his anointed.
9 Save your people, bless your possession,
shepherd them, and carry them forever.
Betrayal by a Friend
For the choir director: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David.
1 God, listen to my prayer
and do not hide from my plea for help.
2 Pay attention to me and answer me.
I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint,
3 because of the enemy’s words,[a]
because of the pressure[b] of the wicked.
For they bring down disaster on me
and harass me in anger.
4 My heart shudders within me;
terrors of death sweep over me.
5 Fear and trembling grip me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “If only I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and find rest.
7 How far away I would flee;
I would stay in the wilderness.Selah
8 I would hurry to my shelter
from the raging wind and the storm.”
9 Lord, confuse[c] and confound their speech,[d]
for I see violence and strife in the city;
10 day and night they make the rounds on its walls.
Crime and trouble are within it;
11 destruction is inside it;
oppression and deceit never leave its marketplace.
12 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.
13 But it is you, a man who is my peer,
my companion and good friend!
14 We used to have close fellowship;
we walked with the crowd into the house of God.
15 Let death take them by surprise;
let them go down to Sheol alive,
because evil is in their homes and within them.
16 But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
17 I complain and groan morning, noon, and night,
and he hears my voice.
18 Though many are against me,
he will redeem me from my battle unharmed.
19 God, the one enthroned from long ago,
will hear and will humiliate themSelah
because they do not change
and do not fear God.
20 My friend acts violently
against those at peace with him;
he violates his covenant.
21 His buttery words are smooth,
but war is in his heart.
His words are softer than oil,
but they are drawn swords.
22 Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
23 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.
Is it OK to complain?
Psalm 13 opens with a complaint to God, the psalmist asks repeatedly: How long for redemption to come from life’s problems? And Ps 55:17 speaks of continual complaining morning, noon and night. However in both cases these psalmists conclude their complaint with trust in God:
Ps 13:5 But I have trusted in your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
– Again –
Ps 55:18 Though many are against me, he will redeem me from my battle unharmed.
These verses should encourage us today because we see that the Bible is written by real people whom we can relate to. But the Bible is also inspired by God using those real people and gives us insight to our lives. In our faith journey we will always encounter delay and lack of vision but it is OK, God can handle it – He even uses it to make Himself known to us. These psalmists who complain are actually men of faith and faith is just messy sometimes.
Consider Romans 1:17 as it speaks of the power of the gospel – For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.