Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Last night, during the annual pastoral review conducted by the Elders, I was asked a question: “What discourages you?
I only had to think about two seconds to have an answer: I get discouraged by the complaints and criticisms of ministry that come from brothers and sisters in Christ. I am not speaking of valid, grace-filled suggestions that come from a person who loves Christ and His church, but rather those complaints that are motivated in large part by a person’s desire to have their personal preferences satisfied. I find it frustrating that people can so easily take their eyes off of Jesus and speak so harshly about what others who love Jesus are doing to serve Him.
The reason I share that publicly with you today is because that is exactly how King David felt when he wrote the fifty-fifth Psalm. Take a moment and read it. (Psalm 55)
David admits that he is restless because of the attacks of the enemy. He confesses that he is in anguish, and is afraid, even horrified, with what the enemies of God are doing to him. He wishes he could fly away and get lost in the wilderness, away from all the attacks.
I’m sure we can all relate to that. It doesn’t feel good to be attacked by enemies. It wrecks our day, and can carry over into weeks.
But David admits to something even more painful than the attacks of enemies: the attacks of a friend. Read again his words in verses 12-14:
For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.
It is indeed a sad and painful thing when individual members of the Body of Christ, who are called out for all eternity to come together in unity to worship and serve the risen Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit, decide to attack other members of the Body because of a prideful desire to have their personal preferences gratified.
King David discovered that the very worst kind of attack is not the face-to-face confrontation of a friend: that can actually turn out well. It is rather the hypocritical, hidden agenda type that pretends to be friendly while being motivated by hate not love. Look at what he says in verses 20-21:
My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.
As I read through this Psalm, I was drawn into it. I could relate to at times being the companion who broke the covenant of Christian love, and it brought me to my knees in confession and repentance. I could also relate to being the victim of such friends, and I relived the pain of those experiences.
But then I read verse 22, and my heart was calmed. My spirit was refreshed. My hope was restored. My discouragement dissipated.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you;
He will never permit the righteous to be moved.
God sustains me! When I remain in His righteousness, God will never move me from His personal care. I do not need the wings of a dove to fly away, for I am safely hidden underneath the wings of His love.
I am reminded of the verses from the prophet Isaiah that my Grandfather gave me as a college student – “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:9-10)