Most of us at some stage in our lives have been disappointed by a friend or family member. It also happens in a team when one member does something that upsets the balance and causes ripples to flow through the whole team. An example of this happened this last week in Australia when a young and talented Aussie Rules Football (AFL) player was caught out and suspended from playing by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) as follows for “an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) and a potential violation of the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code.” https://www.theroar.com.au/2019/09/12/breaking-willie-rioli-reportedly-tests-positive-for-banned-substance/ Naturally his team mates and officials were very disappointed. In fact they lost an important finals game following this violation becoming public and one of the questions asked to the coach was, “Did this disappointment have an impact on the other player’s game?” He answered, “Well, they are not robots!”
In Psalm 54 we see David’s disappointment after being betrayed by fellow tribesmen and how he responds to it. Moore suggests that this psalm teaches us “how to keep on singing through the tears when we are deeply disappointed by our friends.” (# 36)
Note that the first thing David does is talk to God about the situation asking God to help him. He says:
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.
He is then honest with God about what is bothering him, Moore suggests that “David shows us that faith does not mean putting on a brave face and pretending that betrayal doesn’t hurt us.” (# 36) He says:
3 Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.
Having faced up to the facts and shared them with God he recognizes that this trust in God is no futile exercise, and he affirms:
4 Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
He then seeks justice, but instead of taking it upon himself to do this, he leaves any vengeance in God’s hands. He doesn’t pretend that the betrayal doesn’t matter and so says to God:
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.
Moore suggests that “If we are offended by his prayers for vengeance, it simply shows how much we need these psalms of instruction.” (# 36)
David completes his prayer to God by finding comfort and strength in God’s name. He suggests that “God’s name is our only hope of deliverance in the midst of betrayal…God…[who is] his Saviour (54:1), his Helper (54:4), his Avenger (54:5) and his Deliverer (54:7).” (# 36) And so he ends:
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.
We all face times of betrayal and disappointments, but David shows us here a helpful way to deal with it, i.e. God’s way.
Thank you, Father, that as David proved in his own life, Surely You are our help; You are the one who sustains us, even in times of betrayal. And thank you, as the writer to the Hebrews reminds us that, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have Jesus who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Amen. (Hebrews 4:15-16)