This psalm reflects back on a time of deepest trouble for David. It was so bad that His life was in danger, but there wasn't a thing he couldn't do about it! Not only so, but the enemy causing the trouble was even in control of Jerusalem, and the result was that there was iniquity and corruption throughout the city. To make it worse, it was all the work of a formerly close friend!
Later on, after the trouble was past and God had delivered him, David wrote this psalm for all among God's people who might experience betrayal at the hands of a "friend."
The scene isn't one of possible future trouble, but of extreme and present danger. It's one in which deliverance seems impossible and a horrible end seems imminent. Painting that scene, the people sing, "My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me!" They sing of a desire to escape, but no means to do so: "I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest."
And not only personal trouble, but trouble for the entire covenant people of God was in view. The song therefore turns to prayer for deliverance, not only for the singer, but for the people as well - including their need for cleansing and righteousness as well as deliverance. It's a prayer for the return of God's own kingdom rule over them.
The deliverance they needed was deliverance from one who used to come with David and all the people to the morning worship - one who seemed to love God and was familiar to them all. But yet now the traitor has shown his true colors, so the request has to be that God will deal with him in judgement. In minor-keyed dissonance and sorrow, this singing prayer must ask God to "let death seize them; let them go down alive into hell, for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them!"
The next stanza deals with the desired deliverance itself, a deliverance that can only come from God, for there isn't any other help to be found. They sing, "As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice." It's not the time for casual, ritualistic prayer - the only kind that will do is constant prayer, fervent prayer, and intense prayer.
But the result of that kind of prayer is always triumph! People who have experienced it sing, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction. Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You!"
That's the answer! It was the answer for David's greater Son during His life as well. Our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed by a very close friend, but He has risen from the dead to sovereignly deliver each of His people! If you are His, then you WILL participate in His triumph!
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