THE OPPRESSION OF BETRAYAL - P3
“Destruction is in her midst; Oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets” (Ps. 55:11)
David likely wrote Psalm 55 in reference to his friend and counselor Ahithophel, who betrayed him in his greatest need, “for it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; We who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng” (Ps. 55:12-14).
Like David, we all go through this life relying on others, entrusting to them some measure of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Even a hermit once relied completely on his friends and family when he was a child. The people around us who have entrusted some aspect of themselves to our safe-keeping have that trust betrayed by our works of the flesh: “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these” (Gal. 5:19b-21a). These things harm the physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual well-being of men, women, and children. While it is true that our sin is harmful to ourselves, it is even more harmful to others—it is betrayal of trust. The closer we are to someone, the greater the damage. The damage that abused children carry into adulthood alone speaks to the immeasurable harm of betrayal from those we rely upon for our well-being.
But chances are you don’t fully realize how much you rely on others for your well-being. Indeed, it might take a situation like David’s for you to understand just how fragile your well-being is. At one time or another in this life, we all are completely at the mercy of someone we know. And every day, in small and large ways, we entrust ourselves to people who have the power to harm our well-being—bank tellers, police officers, government officials, lawyers, car mechanics, doctors, insurance agents, pastors, teachers—pretty much everyone we know or meet.
David had no reason to doubt for a second that Ahithophel had his best interests at heart, until he had a moment of crisis and Ahithophel betrayed his trust. That is the moment that counts—the moment of crisis, because it tests the people around us. How will they treat what we have entrusted to them when our well-being is in their hands?
No one understands this better than Jesus—betrayed by His people, His followers, and by the sins of the world: “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities...the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him” (Is. 53:5-6). And when sin fell on Him, His Father left Him: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46) Surely, we have a Redeemer Who knows the betrayal of sin—One from Whom we can boldly seek forgiveness when we sin and for comfort when we are betrayed! Amen!
So, in our relationships, may we take care not to act willfully and give way to sin, knowing that our works deeply affect the well-being of the people who have entrusted themselves to us—spouse, child, family, friend, coworker, customer, boss, etc. And when we are betrayed by others, may we forgive them and give them over to the Lord: “As for me, I shall call upon God, And the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me, For they are many who strive with me. God will hear and answer them— Even the one who sits enthroned from of old— Selah….Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You” (Ps. 55:16-19a; 22-23). Amen.