INTERESTING FACTS : John Quincy Adams, SIXTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; DIPLOMAT; SECRETARY OF STATE; U. S. SENATOR; U. S. REPRESENTATIVE; "OLD MAN ELOQUENT"; "HELL-HOUND OF ABOLITION"
"My hopes of a future life are all founded upon the Gospel of Christ and I cannot cavil or quibble away [evade or object to]. . . . the whole tenor of His conduct by which He sometimes positively asserted and at others countenances [permits] His disciples in asserting that He was God."
"The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper till the Lord shall have made "bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" [Isaiah 52:10]
DAILY READING : PSALMS 51 - 57
TEXT : Psa 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. 55:23 But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee.
THEME : ANXIETY
Wickedness and evil have been around since the fall of Man. At times, we think we are the only one to see such treachery, hatred, and universal sinfulness. The fact is, no generation has ever had an easy time of it. Everyone who has ever lived has known some measure of suffering. In particular, each person ever born has known what it means to be anxious. From the Latin "anxius" that means to choke, being anxious is experiencing worry, nervousness, or unease.[1
] David, when he wrote this Psalm was, once again, experiencing [a measure of] depression and anxiety. Primarily, because there was such treachery in the city of Jerusalem.
"Psalm 55 is a distressing picture of wickedness in Jerusalem. The speaker is outside, but has experienced this wickedness in the treachery of his dearest friends. His resource is in God: Jehovah will save. He is looking back, I judge, at all that he had experienced in Jerusalem. Wickedness went about her walls. Wickedness, deceit, and guile were in her midst, nor departed from her streets. He would fain have fled from it all. The enemy was without, the wicked within; but they charged the godly with wickedness, and utterly hated them; but worst of all was the heartless treachery of those within, those with whom the godly had gone in company to the house of God. Still his trust was in God, for where else should he seek help?" [JOHN DARBY]
Still, as Darby points out, David's trust is in the LORD. He has full confidence that the LORD will repay his enemies - wicked men, giving them what they deserve. It is wise to allow God to punish our enemies. The reason is that He judges so thoroughly. No one can do anything like the LORD. His rewards and His punishments are complete, comprehensive, and all-inclusive.
"But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction - The word "them," here evidently refers to the enemies of the psalmist; the wicked people who were arrayed against him, and who sought his life. The "pit of destruction" refers here to the grave, or to death, considered with reference to the fact that they would be "destroyed" or "cut off," or would not die in the usual course of nature. The meaning is, that God would come forth in his displeasure, and cut them down for their crimes. The word "pit" usually denotes "a well," or "cavern" Gen_14:10; Gen_37:20; Exo_21:34, but is often used to denote the grave (Job_17:16; Job_33:18, Job_33:24; Psa_9:15; Psa_28:1; Psa_30:3, Psa_30:9, et al.); and the idea here is that they would be cut off for their sins. The word "destruction" is added to denote that this would be by some direct act, or by punishment inflicted by the hand of God.
Bloody and deceitful men - Margin, as in Hebrew, "Men of bloods and deceit." The allusion is to people of violence; people who live by plunder and rapine; and especially to such people considered as false, unfaithful, and treacherous - as they commonly are. The special allusion here is to the enemies of David, and particularly to such as Ahithophel - men who not only sought his life, but who had proved themselves to be treacherous and false to him.
Shall not live out half their days - Margin, as in Hebrew, "shall not halve their days." So the Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate. The statement is general, not universal. The meaning is, that they do not live half as long as they might do, and would do, if they were "not" bloody and deceitful. Beyond all question this is true. Such people are either cut off in strife and conflict, in personal affrays in duels, or in battle; or they are arrested for their crimes, and punished by an ignominious death. Thousands and tens of thousands thus die every year, who, "but" for their evil deeds, might have doubled the actual length of their lives; who might have passed onward to old age respected, beloved, happy, useful. There is to all, indeed, an outer limit of life. There is a bound which we cannot pass. That natural limit, however, is one that in numerous cases is much "beyond" what people actually reach, though one to which they "might" have come by a course of temperance, prudence, virtue, and piety.
God has fixed a limit beyond which we cannot pass; but, wherever that may be, as arranged in his providence, it is our duty not to cut off our lives "before" that natural limit is reached; or, in other words, it is our duty to live on the earth just as long as we can. Whatever makes us come short of this is self-murder, for there is no difference in principle between a man's cutting off his life by the pistol, by poison, or by the halter, and cutting it off by vice, by crime, by dissipation, by the neglect of health, or by those habits of indolence and self-indulgence which undermine the constitution, and bring the body down to the grave. Thousands die each year whose proper record on their graves would be "self-murderers." Thousands of young people are indulging in habits which, unless arrested, "must" have such a result, and who are destined to an early grave - who will not live out half their days - unless their mode of life is changed, and they become temperate, chaste, and virtuous. One of the ablest lawyers that I have ever known - an example of what often occurs - was cut down in middle life by the use of tobacco. How many thousands perish each year, in a similar manner, by indulgence in intoxicating drinks!" [ALBERT BARNES]
Not living out half your days is a sad scenario for anyone. Many a godly man or women has died prematurely - if indeed that is possible as I believe it is, due to breaking a law of God as simple as not taking proper rest or nutrition. How much more grievous is it when a person is wicked, headed for Hell, and enters that place of unspeakable horror before they had to? Or better, if they had to enter Hell at all! God is merciful and grants seasons for the wicked to consider their ways and repent. Therefore, it is all the more regretful that a wicked person leaves this word for the next - suddenly.
"But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction - The Chaldee is emphatic: "And thou, O Lord, by thy Word (במימרך bemeymerach) shalt thrust them into the deep Gehenna, the bottomless pit, whence they shall never come out; the pit of destruction, where all is amazement, horror, anguish, dismay, ruin, endless loss, and endless suffering."
Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days - So we find, if there be an appointed time to man upon earth, beyond which he cannot pass; yet he may so live as to provoke the justice of God to cut him off before he arrives at that period; yea, before he has reached half way to that limit. According to the decree of God, he might have lived the other half; but he has not done it.
But I will trust in thee - Therefore I shall not be moved, and shall live out all the days of my appointed time.
The fathers in general apply the principal passages of this Psalm to our Lord's sufferings, the treason of Judas, and the wickedness of the Jews; but these things do not appear to me fairly deducible from the text. It seems to refer plainly enough to the rebellion of Absalom. "The consternation and distress expressed in Psa_55:4-8, describe the king's state of mind when he fled from Jerusalem, and marched up the mount of Olives, weeping. The iniquity cast upon the psalmist answers to the complaints artfully laid against the king by his son of a negligent administration of justice: and to the reproach of cruelty cast upon him by Shimei, 2Sa_15:2, 2Sa_15:4; 2Sa_16:7, 2Sa_16:8. The equal, the guide, and the familiar friend, we find in Ahithophel, the confidential counsellor, first of David, afterwards of his son Absalom. The buttery mouth and oily words describe the insidious character of Absalom, as it is delineated, 2Sa_15:5-9. Still the believer, accustomed to the double edge of the prophetic style, in reading this Psalm, notwithstanding its agreement with the occurrences of David's life, will be led to think of David's great descendant, who endured a bitter agony, and was the victim of a baser treachery, in the same spot where David is supposed to have uttered these complaints." - [Bishop Horsley.]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "DO NOT CARRY YOUR BURDEN - CAST IT ON CHRIST!"
The word burden has an interesting definition - "gift." If this definition from the Hebrew is accurate, then it follows that we must carry ALL our burdens to the LORD, including those areas of life that "we think" we can handle by ourselves. However, even though the context of Psalm 55 does not seem to indicate the definition of "gift" would be correct, the concept still applies. We need to have God's aid in everything - no matter how small. How much more then with those problems, troubles, and worries we cannot handle.
"thy burden — literally, "gift," what is assigned you.
he shall sustain — literally, "supply food," and so all need (Psa_37:25; Mat_6:11).
to be moved — from the secure position of His favor (compare Psa_10:6). " [Jameson, Fausett, & Brown]
If we do not include burdens that are the result of our own [willful] breaking of God's Laws, everything that comes into our life can be considered the will of God. Then, the LORD helps us by telling us to let Him carry it for us. When we do, He will "sustain" us. He will never let us down, nor will He ever permit us to be overcome by life's distresses, apprehensions, and concerns.
"Thy burden," or what thy God lays upon thee, lay thou it "upon the Lord." His wisdom casts it on thee, it is thy wisdom to cast it on him. He cast thy lot for thee, cast thy lot on him. He gives thee thy portion of suffering, accept it with cheerful resignation, and then take it back to him by thine assured confidence. "He shall sustain thee." Thy bread shall be given thee, thy waters shall be sure. Abundant nourishment shall fit thee to bear all thy labours and trials. As thy days so shall thy strength be. "He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." He may move like the boughs of a tree in the tempest, but he shall never be moved like a tree torn up by the roots. He stands firm who stands in God. Many would destroy the saints, but God has not suffered it, and never will. Like pillars, the godly stand immovable, to the glory of the Great Architect." [C.H. SPURGEON]
You need to consider that God will test your faith. However, you also need to remember He will not allow you to experience more than you can - by faith, hope, and love, overcome or escape. [1Co_10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.]
The LORD knows our frailty. Therefore, He will not allow us to encounter any situation in life that - one way or the other, we shall not eventually conquer. When God works for us, as He ultimately always does, we are MORE than overcomers! [Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.]
"In every trial let us call upon the Lord, and he will save us. He shall hear us, and not blame us for coming too often; the oftener the more welcome. David had thought all were against him; but now he sees there were many with him, more than he supposed; and the glory of this he gives to God, for it is he that raises us up friends, and makes them faithful to us. There are more true Christians, and believers have more real friends, than in their gloomy hours they suppose. His enemies should be reckoned with, and brought down; they could not ease themselves of their fears, as David could, by faith in God. Mortal men, though ever so high and strong, will easily be crushed by an eternal God. Those who are not reclaimed by the rod of affliction, will certainly be brought down to the pit of destruction. The burden of afflictions is very heavy, especially when attended with the temptations of Satan; there is also the burden of sin and corruption. The only relief under it is, to look to Christ, who bore it. Whatever it is that thou desirest God should give thee, leave it to him to give it in his own way and time. Care is a burden, it makes the heart stoop. We must commit our ways and works to the Lord; let him do as seemeth him good, and let us be satisfied. To cast our burden upon God, is to rest upon his providence and promise. And if we do so, he will carry us in the arms of his power, as a nurse carries a child; and will strengthen our spirits by his Spirit, so that they shall sustain the trial. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved; to be so shaken by any troubles, as to quit their duty to God, or their comfort in him. He will not suffer them to be utterly cast down. He, who bore the burden of our sorrows, desires us to leave to him to bear the burden of our cares, that, as he knows what is best for us, he may provide it accordingly. Why do not we trust Christ to govern the world which he redeemed?" [MATTHEW HENRY]