Listen to my prayer, O God
Hide not Yourself from my supplication
Attend to me and answer me
I am restless and distraught at the noise of the enemy
My heart is grievously pained within me
And the terror of death has fallen upon me
Fear and trembling have come upon me;
Horror and fright have overwhelmed me.
(Ps. 55: 1-5)
A prayer in the form of a psalm from the depth of the of David’s heart, speaks to us and comforts us in some way, knowing that we too can go to the heavenly Father with all our cares and troubles. This psalm is an expression of what David was going through in that time of his life. This shepherd boy, who killed a bear and a lion to save his sheep, finds himself in a crossroads where no help was in sight, only faith and a prayer to deliver him from the rebellion of his son, Absalom and the betrayal of his close friend, Ahithophel and many of his servants. (II Sam. 15-18). Betrayal is like cancer; it eats up the emotion and robs the peace from within. It takes a while for the results to fade away, and meanwhile, the soul is tormented with bitterness. In writing this psalm, David did not express forgiveness, but asked for God to avenge those who had offended him. We can taste his hurt feelings in verses 12-15: For it is not an enemy who reproaches and taunts me- then I might bear it; nor is it one who has hated me who insolently vaunts himself against me- then I might hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we had sweet fellowship together and used to walk to the house of God in company. (Psalm 55:12-14). The memory of his past friendship with Ahithophel was like the taste of bitter herb going down to the stomach. That was a heavy burden on the soul. David and his family had to flee from his son, who tried to take the kingdom from him by stealing the hearts of the men of Israel. His rebellion was also a betrayal and vengeance.
David’s prayer was of urgent timing. His supplication came to God in restlessness of his heart, in grievous pain. Desiring peace, David wanted to fly away from all his troubles. He said, 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; I would hasten to escape and to find a shelter from the stormy wind and tempest (Vs. 6-9). A temporary relieve, was David’s desire to have. A place where he would not hear the noises of confusion and anger against him. He just wished wings of a dove, a symbol of freedom. However, a physical presence elsewhere would not accomplish much in the way of inner peace; but a calm and undisturbed mind and heart. Circumstances we face in our everyday life can lead us either to peace or disturbances of the mind. The secret of consistency in achieving victory through it all however, is not in our self, but in the trust and faith in God, our Provider, our Shelter and refuge in our troubles. David well knew it, as he expressed it in several of his psalms. But it was necessary for him to express his inner feeling of fear and uncertainty in face of his circumstances, for they were of great proportion, beyond his ability to cope alone.