This psalm says much about the struggles of God’s people in a world of sin and corruption. There has always been an adversarial relationship between the righteous and the unrighteous, the godly and the godless, the sinner and the saint; perhaps coming to its ultimate illustration in Christ on the cross. Forsaken and betrayed by a friend (John 13:18); scorned and ridiculed by those who arrogantly stood in judgment of Him; He was beaten and spat upon by those whom He allowed to serve as His executioners.
We must be cautious should we consider this Psalm and David’s response a model for our own response to troubles we face. This psalm may, perhaps, serve as a mirror we hold up and see our own reflection—full of anguish and despair. Truly, we live in a violent world that is increasingly more hostile to Jesus Christ and His teaching. In the midst of trial, how many of us have desired wings with which to escape to a refuge far removed from the troubles we face (Ps. 55:6-8). The temptation to call upon God to destroy our enemies is real indeed; but, is this an appropriate response for us?
Rather than looking to David and the desires of which we may be able to relate, we need remember him who was the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15). Christ is our model. He is a reflection of God Himself. He taught us that those who wish to destroy our bodies are not to be feared (Matt. 10:28). He taught us to turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:39). And, lets not forget that even in His own agony and pain, inflicted by those He came to save (John 1:11), Jesus did not pray for their destruction. He prayed for their forgiveness. His love for man, even men who rejoiced in his suffering, never weakened nor ceased to be expressed. Let Christ be our example, as He said… “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing,” (Luke 23:34).
The last words of the Psalm need to be our enduring theme. Trusting God means to turn all that we fear over to Him to deal with as He wills. This does not mean that we trust that God will bring about exactly what our heart desires, but rather that we place all that we are entirely in His hands to do as He desires. We trust that, whatever may come, our perfect Father is working to bring about our good and His glory. As Jerry Bridges so aptly expressed,
“If we are going to learn to trust God in adversity, we must believe that just as certainly as God will allow nothing to subvert His glory, so He will allow nothing to spoil the good He is working out in us and for us.”
Jerry Bridges, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, New ed. (Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2008), 26.