At this stage in our history, information is coming to light that was hardly (to our shame) ever mentioned in the past, despite it always being present. That information concerns child abuse. In Australia we recently had a Royal Commission into this issue and the results were both confronting and horrifying. Some very high-profile people involved in institutions where children were under their care were exposed for their crimes against children. Most shockingly, the fact is that perpetrators of this abuse were not normally strangers, but in an article I read on child abuse in Australia, it said that “95 percent of sexually abused children will be abused by someone they know and trust (NAPCAN 2009)”, including by parents (either biological or otherwise), siblings, extended family or close family friends. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/12-confronting-statistics-on-child-sexual-abuse_b_587dab01e4b0740488c3de49
Basically, this is betrayal, which is a terrible thing because, as the definition reveals, it is the “breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship…” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betrayal
In Psalm 54 we read of David’s pain as a result of the betrayal perpetrated upon him by members of his own tribe of Judah (the Ziphites). In a previous psalm (52), David speaks of having been plotted against by “Doeg the Edomite”. That was bad enough and maybe he wasn’t too surprised by the treachery of this man, but to be betrayed by the “Ziphites” was very painful for him. Especially when he had just previously “saved the people of Keilah” from their enemy. (1 Samuel 23:5). “As fellow tribesmen of Judah, they should have been his staunchest allies instead of his betrayers.” (# 36)
Here is his prayer to the Lord in response:
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David. When the Ziphites had gone to Saul and said, “Is not David hiding among us?”
1 Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
2 Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.
3 Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.
4 Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.
6 I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.
7 You have delivered me from all my troubles,
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.
Next time we will look at what we can learn from this psalm, but can I ask that considering the “damning statistic” that we considered at the beginning of this Post that you stop and pray for someone you know who is a victim of child abuse. Or maybe, for someone you know who has been betrayed by a trusted spouse, a friend or business partner. Pray for God’s comfort and healing in their lives and even for the ability to forgive. And pray for wisdom for those involved in seeking to counsel and help these victims of betrayal.
Father, I read in Psalm 68:5 this morning that you are “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows…” and much more. May you be that and more to those we know who have known betrayal and pain in relationships where it should never have happened. Amen,