Give ear to my prayer, O God;
And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
2 Give heed to me and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted,
3 Because of the voice of the enemy,
Because of the pressure of the wicked;
For they bring down trouble upon me
And in anger they bear a grudge against me.
4 My heart is in anguish within me,
And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fear and trembling come upon me,
And horror has overwhelmed me.
6 I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
7 “Behold, I would wander far away,
I would lodge in the wilderness Selah.
8 “I would hasten to my place of refuge
From the stormy wind and tempest.”
9 Confuse, O Lord, divide their tongues,
For I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go around her upon her walls,
And iniquity and mischief are in her midst.
11 Destruction is in her midst;
Oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets.
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me,
Then I could bear it;
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me,
Then I could hide myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal,
My companion and my familiar friend;
14 We who had sweet fellowship together
Walked in the house of God in the throng.
15 Let death come deceitfully upon them;
Let them go down alive to Sheol,
For evil is in their dwelling, in their midst.
16 As for me, I shall call upon God,
And the Lord will save me.
17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur,
And He will hear my voice.
18 He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me,
For they are many who strive with me.
19 God will hear and answer them—
Even the one who sits enthroned from of old— Selah.
With whom there is no change,
And who do not fear God.
20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him;
He has violated his covenant.
21 His speech was smoother than butter,
But his heart was war;
His words were softer than oil,
Yet they were drawn swords.
22 Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
23 But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days.
But I will trust in You. Psalm 55, NASB
Psalm 55 is another example of what Brueggemann would call a psalm of disorientation. I love these types of psalms because there is a certain level of freedom with singing, speaking, reading or even meditating upon them. Freedom comes because we realize it is okay to speak to God in this way. Freedom comes because it makes us realize we are still human. Freedom comes because we know that God still loves us enough to be with us in our disorientated life. As the writer/psalmist of everyone’s beloved Psalm 23 puts it: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Psalm 23:4-5a, NASB. The psalmist is crying out to the Lord because not only is the community against the writer, but he/she has been betrayed by his/her best friend. This is the crux of the disorientation.
In verses 1-3, the psalmist begs God to listen to the prayers already made on behalf of the situation, especially that of the community. The psalmists laments, “Attend to me, and answer me; I am troubled in my complaint.” Freedom and release from the current emotional situation comes from lamenting to God. “I am distraught by the noise of the enemy, because of the clamor of the wicked. For they bring trouble upon me, and in anger they cherish enmity against me.” In verses 5-8, the writer further describes his/her emotional state. Like the writer, there are times that we feel like, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; truly, I would flee far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; I would hurry to find a shelter for myself from the raging wind and tempest.” Now look at verses 9-11, look at how the psalmist prays that God should treat the enemy. The psalmist is honest. When we pray for our enemies, our first human instinct is not to pray good things for them, but to cry out that the enemy feels what we are feeling. The psalmist knows that he/she is lamenting to a God that is intimately acquainted with him/her. The writer is free because the writer knows, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.” Psalm 139:1-4. Better yet, the ancient Israelites worshipped and knew a certain level of freedom in speaking to God in this way. They knew that they did not just need to pray pure thoughts to God. The ancient Israelites knew that God was looking for honesty in their relationship with God, “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” Psalm 51:6.
For the psalmist, this is not the worst part of the pain. The worst part is the betrayal of his/her best friend. Psalm 55:12-13. How many of us have experienced this type of hurtt? Look at how the psalmist describes the relationship with the best friend to God in verses 13-14, “My companion and my familiar friend; We who had sweet fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the throng.” The writer describes the betrayal in verses 20-21, He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He has violated his covenant. His speech was smoother than butter, But his heart was war; His words were softer than oil, Yet they were drawn swords.” But even in the midst of this pain, the psalmist is assured in the knowledge that God is even interested in this personal betrayal.
In both situations, the psalmist is honest with God about his/her feelings and pain even in how he/she wants God to resolve the situation. After this release of emotions, the psalmist writes, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.” How refreshing it can be to go to God and be honest about our feelings of pain and betrayal and know like the psalmist, God will not leave us. God will not be disappointed in us. God wants a relationship with us. There is freedom in knowing and acknowledging to God like the psalmist the depths of our emotions to a God that can take it and still love us. You too will also have the same assurance that the psalmist has when you honestly cast your burdens upon God, you will also trust in God.
 Walter Brueggemann, Spirituality of the Psalms (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2002).