Praying through the Psalms

Praying through the Psalms

Monday, June 19, 2017

When Your Friends Betray You, What Should You Do?

Psalm 35:11-18
11 Ruthless witnesses come forward;
     they question me on things I know nothing about.
12 They repay me evil for good
     and leave me like one bereaved.
13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
     and humbled myself with fasting.
     When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
14 I went about mourning
      as though for my friend or brother.
     I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my                    mother.
15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
    assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
    They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;
      they gnashed their teeth at me.
17 How long, Lord, will you look on?
     Rescue me from their ravages,
     my precious life from these lions.
18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
     among the throngs I will praise you.

One of the worst experiences in life is being betrayed, especially by a friend.  As David recounts today, especially by a friend who you had stood by in their time of trouble. David clearly prayed for these brothers when they were ill.  He mourned for them in sackcloth, showing the full extent of his love for them when they needed it the most. 

David Guzik says it this way in his commentary, "To be misunderstood or be made the deliberate target of false accusation is great sorrow. "

To make things worse, they were actually joyful at his downfall. They had secret meetings to talk about him to slander his name and plan his ruin.  Does it get any worse than this?  

So how does David handle it?  He cries out to the Lord to help him.  He appeals to God's mercy knowing that God sees what is going on.  Rather than try and seek retribution himself, David asks the Lord to contend with those who contend against him, and fight against those who fight against him! 

David ask the Lord to say to him, "I am your salvation."  So at the heart of his prayer, his cry out to God is to give this matter to God.  He realizes if he retaliates he will only compound the problem and repay evil for evil.  But as Paul says possibly as an application of this psalm, 

1Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Paul is reflecting his Lord and Savior Jesus' response to those who unjustly treating him even unto death on a cross.  Jesus' response to those who betrayed him was, "Father forgive them for they know not what to do."

If you have someone who has betrayed you, don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good! 




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