And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest… Psalm 55:6
Escape! Who hasn’t felt like getting away from a situation that is crushing our souls?
- Wings–we can escape; we move faster than our troubles can catch us.
- Away–the idea of a place where our troubles are far gone; where we can be at rest.
King David, in this case, had just prayed. His prayer is pretty raw–restless in my complaint, I moan, my heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. fear and trembling come upon me, horror overwhelms me. Psalm 55:2-5
The causes–friends who have betrayed him, men of violence that are causing trouble in the city. (Psalm 55:9-15, 20-21)
He had just prayed: Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! Attend to me, and answer me… Psalm 55:1-2 Yet it is almost as if he is not expecting an answer to his prayer.
David has figured out how not to need God:
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”
(Did you count the number of “I’s” in these three short verses of Scripture?)
It is strength to be able to speak to God out of the reality of our present situation. Psalm 62:8 (written by David) says: Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
Why not do that now? If you are disquieted, fearful, angry, distressed, restless, eager to go someplace else, to a place of rest–speak of the condition of your heart before God. He has just invited you to do so. He is your refuge.
This pouring out is a waypoint, not an endpoint. A godly characteristic of Shepherd King is that he is able to see clear to God’s pathway when in trouble:
- Forget Saul’s armor, go for the five smooth stones and the sling.
- Wait for God’s timing, do not kill Saul.
- Worship the Lord publicly and vigorously even though you have displeased your wife Michal the daughter of Saul.
Eugene Petersen writes about challenging Goliath in his biography of David, Leap Over a Wall:
David left Saul’s armor behind and walked out into the Valley of Elah clean and spare, traveling light, delivered from an immense clutter; and he kneeled at the brook.
David, at that moment, kneeling at the brook, frames something that is absolutely essential for each of us. Are we going to live this life from our knees, imaginatively and personally? Or are we going to live it conventionally and at secondhand? Are we going to live out of our God-created, Spirit-anointed, Jesus-saved being?…Are we going to be shaped by our fears of [our] Goliath[s] or by God?
David got there in this case as well:
But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.
Note that the enemies are still there, he is still feeling poorly, but is confident that God will come through.
And by the way, though David felt desperate to get away, he ends the Psalm with this assurance:
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
We are in this, with God, and together,
All grace to you,