Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it.
Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets. (vv 9-11)
David again pleads to the Lord for deliverance from an enemy that seeks to destroy him. So persistent is this foe that even the king would entertain desires to flee from the situation rather than facing it head on. This strikes the reader on the oblique; here is King David, a man deeply vested in the will of God and secure in His protection and yet he toys with the idea of running away.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest –I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and the storm.” (vv 6-8)
What attacker could generate such a willingness to retreat in the mighty king? It is the intimacy of his attacker that sets this foe apart. David envisions a city in chaos, a place in which no peace can be found. A similar sentiment was voice by the prophets Jeremiah (Jer 9:2-9) and Micah (Mic 7:1-6) of being surrounded by sin (cf. Micah – the people are able to sin with both hands) without relief. Worse yet, the enemy in view is one who is close to David, a friend once perhaps. This closeness makes the attack personal and therefore the cuts are deeper.
If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God. (vv 12-14)
We know these struggles well. Our environment is threatening at every turn. Our friends turn against us when we least expect it. We ponder why; why has God placed us in these situations? Perhaps it is to strengthen our trust. We are allowed to momentarily fantasize about running away from the problems, to avoid them altogether but, only for a moment. Those who trust in Him, trust in Him all the time and in all things, good and bad. Ultimately, our travails play a role in our Father’s ultimate glory. For this, we are grateful participants.
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (v 22)