“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove. I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.“ – Psalms 55:4-8
Psalm 55 gives us a different perspective of King David. We see a man terrorized by his enemies and concerned about what is happening in his life. His first reaction to his current circumstances seems to be to turn and run away. This seems a little out of character for the man who killed Goliath and fought with lions and bears. But is it? We can identify with David. Most of us have had successes. Some have had large successes. But in spite of what we may have accomplished, there are times when the pressure mounts and every fiber of our being wants to head for the exit. While David probably at least considered making an exit, stage right, he chose instead to offer an earnest prayer for relief. He chooses to fervently seek God.
We can feel his yearning for God in the first verse, “Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!.” He is asking God to “lend His ear.” David is pouring out his heart to God and he’s pleading for Him to listen.
The Psalm continues and David expresses great pain. He is hurting deeply, but in the midst of his pain he is crying out to God in bold and fervent prayer. Verses 16 and 17 show us exactly how he prayed, “But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.” David is confronting God and boldly proclaiming his need.
While everything inside him said, “run!” he chose to stay and seek God. My guess is he was probably on his knees in tears and shouting his prayers to his Father in heaven. And, when we feel like running away, we need to do the same thing. We all face a common desire sometimes to run away. We all deal with disappointments in life. We want to get away from hassles, from frustrations, we are weary of arguments, and bickering, and sometimes it seems like it doesn’t pay to get out of bed.
Do why does David hang in there?The answer is in verses 22 and 23, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.”
David rested and trusted completely in God’s promises and knew that the Lord would uphold the believer in their life struggles. David knew that when he called upon God, He would listen, and He would give us what we need to get through the struggle, no matter what was happening in his life.
So when we want to run away, run to God, and let give life’s struggles to Him. Learn to let go.
- Read Psalm 55: What feelings are described in Psalm 55? Describe the image of God that you find in this passage.
- What were David’s complaints before God? In other words, with what problem or difficulty was he dealing?
- How often does David say he prays? How often do you pray?
- We often have a negative response to our “negative” feelings. What thoughts do you typically have in response to your feelings of anger, depression or fear? How does it affect you to know that God is near to you when you are in pain? Have you ever wanted to just leave your problems and fly away? Share what you learned at a time when you stayed despite the desire to leave.
- Responding to God: Be honest before God with your own feelings today. Perhaps you are in a good place, as were our psalmists who wrote the psalms of confidence; or you may be in a difficult spot and feel much as David did as expressed in Psalm 55.