Jerusalem has been overtaken by evil, and King David begs God not to ignore his cries for help (Psalm 55:1-2). The combined evil of powerful enemies and treacherous friends has overwhelmed him.
David’s enemies rain down violence on him. Their hostile words pelt him with pain (Psalm 55:2-3). Terror of death has reduced David to a trembling heap (Psalm 55:4-5). David’s close friend has betrayed his confidence with slick speech (Psalm 55:20-21). David could barely bear the battering of enemies, but his friend’s backstabbing leaves his wounded heart in a pit too deep for words (Psalm 55:12-14). David fears that the violence of his enemies and the betrayal of his friends will be the end of him. His only desire is to flee far from his terrors and into a hidden shelter in the desert, where he would be safe (Psalm 55:6-8).
David looks out over his capital city and sees that it has been overrun. Violence and division prowl upon the walls, malice and abuse inhabit its houses, threats and lies haunt the streets, and destruction rules the town (Psalm 55:9-11). The overwhelming evil of the city makes a shack in the desert a more preferable place to live.
David prays for an end to the evil he sees around him. And God hears and answers David’s prayers. God saves him as often as he calls for help (Psalm 55:16-17). David knows God is not limited by rampant evil. God will continue to rescue his people from danger and keep them safe. He will punish those who refuse to turn from their assaults, and will not let the innocent be collateral damage (Psalm 55:18-19). David knows God hears him and he knows God will preserve him, even in this city of wickedness (Psalm 55:22).
Where is the Gospel?
Jesus knew David’s situation all too well. He also spoke of Jerusalem as a place of violence; a city that kills its prophets and persecutes innocent people (Matthew 23:37). Jesus’ friends either left him, denied him, or betrayed him (Matthew 26:48-49, 56, 69-74). The threats of his enemies pelted him with pain and their flogging and nails reduced his body to a trembling heap.
The violence of enemies and the betrayal of his friends put an end to him. He suffered all that sinful humanity could throw at him. And he let himself be crushed by the wickedness of his city. David’s fear of death became true in Jesus. But David’s hope for safety also came true in Jesus. Jesus endured the brutality of enemies and the betrayal of friends so that he could build a new Jerusalem. A city that people do not flee from, but flock to—a place where victims of violence find safety and victims of anxiety find peace (Revelation 21:26-27). In Jesus, the innocent are no longer collateral damage in the wars of the wicked but the citizens of the Kingdom that will end all wars. And like David, we can pray for an end to evil and know that God will preserve us forever in the city that he will build.
See for Yourself
So I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who rescues his people from violence and anxiety. And may you see Jesus as the one who endured the brutality of evil people so that he could bring them to a city of safety and peace.