Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6, KJV
He was once a trusted friend, but something happened. His friendship became treachery, and the man who had been a companion, a family friend, and confidant became an enemy. Have you ever had that happen? Painful, isn't it? The person that you thought would have gone to the wall with you slowly begins to drift away. Your phone doesn’t ring. It’s a one-way friendship. When you call or drop by, you get the connection but it’s cold, routine, and your friend gives you the impression that he’s outgrown your friendship.
Here's how one person put it, "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."
Those words were written 3,000 years ago, but they are as contemporary as this morning's newspaper. David, the king of ancient Israel, experienced the sadness and grief which you may have encountered when a trusted friend, one of your closest companions, begins to drift away from you and—for whatever reason—begins to think of you as an enemy. Whatever you are, an enemy you are not, but he thinks you are, and the sting of his treachery hurts more than if it were someone from whom you would expect that kind of treatment.
Within his power was a variety of choices which David could have exercised. Like the boss who can hire or fire, David could have made life miserable for the man who had double‑crossed him. He could have responded with the "eye‑for‑an‑eye and a‑tooth‑for‑a‑tooth" treatment. Get him a dose of his own medicine. That’s what most people would have done. But what did David do?
You can read about it in Psalm 55, in your Old Testament. David began by expressing his feelings. "My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy," David wrote. He honestly admitted that he'd like to walk away from the whole situation. "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!" he wrote, "I would fly away and be at rest. I would flee far away and stay in the desert." Ever feel like turning and running from an unpleasant situation? Then you know how David felt.
David was a warrior who had seen plenty of bloodshed, and David knew that anger only breeds more anger. Violence only precipitates more violence. "No," thought David, "treating the guy like he treats me is not the solution."
Uncertain as to what to do, David laid the whole mess before the Lord in prayer. He said, "I call to God and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice."
David chose the path of wisdom as he said (and I'm paraphrasing his words), "God, you take care of this whole mess," and then he gave some advice which we badly need today. He said, "Cast your cares—burden is the word in the King James translation—on the Lord and he will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22). Then David closed the entire matter, saying, "But as for me, I trust in you."
Do you ever think it strange that someone who lived long ago should understand the anguish and the pain of your life today? The book of Psalms is one of my favorites because there I see myself and my feelings, my pain, and my heartache. I see my mistakes and humanity in the lives of men who wrote long ago, and I see the solutions which we desperately need today. Friend, make a note of Psalm 55 and read it carefully. Overwhelmed with worry as David was? Then cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you as well. It still works.
Resource reading: Psalm 55:1-23