Summary: King David’s experience with his son Absolom and his counselor Ahithophel from Psalm 55 provide the backdrop for this message.

Charles W. Holt

Community of Grace Church

(An Assemblies of God Fellowship)


Psalm 55

I want to begin with a trivia question.

Question: Who was Spike Jones and the City Slickers? I remember them as a musical hodge-podge band who sang and played some of the funniest songs ever. One of their horseracing songs featured a horse name Beetle Baum. They did a parody of Adolph Hitler about saying Hiel, Hiel, Right in the Fuher’s Face. And many, many others.

But there is a song I want to recall, for the purpose of this message today, entitled “You Always Hurt The One You Love.” Allen Roberts and Doris Fisher wrote it and was a Top 20 hit in 1961. Many serious performers have sung this song including the Mills Brothers but none have a version like Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

The words of the song say:

You always hurt the one you love

The one you shouldn’t hurt at all

You always take the sweetest rose

And crush it till the petals fall

You always break the kindest heart

With a hasty word you can’t recall

So if I broke your heart last night

It’s because I love you most of all

Now I know there are many lyrics of songs I could have chosen but this was the first one to come to mind and I find it expresses so well a truth we have all shared.

This is a two-way street. We have either been guilty as the offending party and have hurt the one we shouldn’t hurt at all or we have been on the receiving end of someone’s unkindness, someone’s cutting, hurting words.

I have chosen the testimony of Israel’s great King David to illustrate and provide substance to for this message. We will be turning to Psalm 55 for this story.

In the chapter heading for Psalm 55 in my New King James Version that I will be using are these words: Trust in God Concerning the Treachery of Friends. That’s an interesting heading and it is a proper one, as we shall see. In actuality it gives a thumbnail sketch of what today’s message is all about.

1. Friends

2. Treachery, i.e., deceitfulness, disloyalty

3. Dealing with the deceit, treachery

4. Trusting God

Let’s take the time to read the entire chapter. It is only 23 verses long. (Read)

This chapter literally explodes with feeling if you could read it in one of the modern translations such as The Message or other modern English version. Here is only a mere sample from The Message of verses 4-8.

4-8 My insides are turned inside out;

specters of death have me down.

I shake with fear,

I shudder from head to foot.

"Who will give me wings," I ask—

"wings like a dove?"

Get me out of here on dove wings;

I want some peace and quiet.

I want a walk in the country,

I want a cabin in the woods.

I’m desperate for a change

from rage and stormy weather.

It would help greatly if we knew for certain the circumstances or situation that made David feel the way he does in this Psalm. There are two very good possibilities. One source says it was written when David was a captive of the ruthless Philistines in Gath. I prefer to believe it came as a result of an event described in 2 Samuel 15. It concerns the rebellion of David’s son Absalom who sought to take the kingdom from his father. It also involved David’s trusted counselor name Ahithophel. These two conspired to betray the King and Absalom persuaded hundreds to follow him. David had to flee for his life.

Psalm 55 is descriptive of that event recorded in 2 Samuel 15. (Summarize these events if desired.)

Let’s listen to David’s prayer, in Psalm 55, as he pours out his heart to the Lord.

The severity of his distress may be realized in the words that he uses to describe his circumstances, his distressed condition.

1 I am restless

2. I moan noisily

3. Oppression

4. Trouble

5. Wrath

6. Hate

7. Severely pained

8. Terrors of death

9. Fearfulness

10. Trembling

11. Horror has overwhelmed me

12. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

How many times have we, in one way or another, wanted to “get away.” We may not have expressed it as David does but his words describe our feelings at the time. I call your attention again to the words from The Message in verses 6 – 8:

"Who will give me wings," I ask—

"wings like a dove?"

Get me out of here on dove wings;

I want some peace and quiet.

I want a walk in the country,

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