Who or what do you put your faith in? Do you put your faith into yourself, trusting your instincts ad emotions to lead you? Our feelings do not always guide us with wisdom. David had been betrayed by a friend. He was greatly wounded and in his distress he wrote this poem, a prayer to The Lord. Verses 1-8 read,
“Give ear to my prayer, O God,
and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
2 Attend to me, and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
3 because of the noise of the enemy,
because of the oppression of the wicked.
For they drop trouble upon me,
and in anger they bear a grudge against me.
4 My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me.
6 And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
7 yes, I would wander far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
8 I would hurry to find a shelter
from the raging wind and tempest.”
David’s emotions lied to him. He felt like God wasn’t hearing his prayers. He was suffering and afraid. Those feelings made him want to fly away from it all and seek refuge in a tent in the wilderness. He wanted to escape his suffering rather than go through it.
But we know that God will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5). Although our emotions, our flesh leads us to cower and escape torment, troubles, and trials, God calls us to let him be our refuge. Romans 8:5-8 puts it this way,
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Our emotions (our flesh) do not always lead us properly, but the Spirit always does. The Spirit carries us through the difficulties we experience and conforms us to Jesus’ beautiful likeness through them. Romans 8:26-29 reads,
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
David was hurting over the betrayal of a friend. He put his trust in this friend and the friend helped those who sought to kill David. Putting our faith in people isn’t a great idea. People are fallible. We are not all-powerful, perfect, and holy like our Lord God. We fail. We fall short of the mark. Only God almighty is worthy of our faith. Jesus lived the only perfect life ever. We trust Him and when people let us down, as they undoubtedly will or when we let others down as we undoubtedly will, God is still with us strengthening, leading, and perfecting us.
David was deeply hurt by the person he had once called friend. He cried out to God to punish him. Verses 9-15 record his passionate plea.
“Destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues;
for I see violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go around it
on its walls,
and iniquity and trouble are within it;
11 ruin is in its midst;
oppression and fraud
do not depart from its marketplace.
12 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.
13 But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
14 We used to take sweet counsel together;
within God's house we walked in the throng.
15 Let death steal over them;
let them go down to Sheol alive;
for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.”
Have you ever felt so hurt that you like David asked God to kill someone? The deep emotions David felt prompted his injured soul to hate the betrayer. I know that I have experienced that sort of hate when someone hurt me. Those feelings are tantamount to murder. Seriously, we are not perfect. We all sin grievously. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus spoke about our anger and thought life this way,
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”
David’s personal Judas deserved punishment, but so did David. Our enemies deserve punishment, but so do we. God is graceful and merciful. He loves us enough to give us Jesus. He loves us enough to count Jesus perfect love and life as our own just for the asking. He loves us enough to reform us as new creatures whose nature align with His own. When we depend on God, His love, mercy and grace become ours too and we can extend it to even the vilest of persons. We realize we were that despicable too. If God forgave us, shouldn’t we also forgive others? Verses 16-21 read,
“But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan,
and he hears my voice.
18 He redeems my soul in safety
from the battle that I wage,
for many are arrayed against me.
19 God will give ear and humble them,
he who is enthroned from of old, Selah
because they do not change
and do not fear God.
20 My companion stretched out his hand against his friends;
he violated his covenant.
21 His speech was smooth as butter,
yet war was in his heart;
his words were softer than oil,
yet they were drawn swords.”
People will hurt us. People can lie, they can feign sincerity. We want to believe them. David wanted to believe his one-time friend. Hoping the best of someone is not a sin. Wanting people to be sincere is not wrong. But putting out faith in them instead of God is a sin. If we trust God, then when we are hurt by people we can extend His grace, mercy, and love to them too. It won’t mean we aren’t hurt, but it lessens that wound and brings healing to us and maybe even to the one who hurt us.
When you are hurt don’t lash out at the person who wronged you, call out to The Lord, give Him your pain and sorrow and let Him make it beautiful. Trust that those who wronged you will be dealt with by your Lord, your Father, your Savior, and your Peace. Verses 22-23 read,
“Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved.
23 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.”
Do you put your trust in your feelings? Do you allow circumstances to rule you? Do you put your faith in people including yourself? Put your faith and trust in God. He is able. He is worthy. He is God The LORD.