There are several strategies I follow when I dig into a study of a particular verse or section of scripture. Jen Wilkins, in her book, Women of the Word, refers to moving a mountain with a spoon as you set out to study God’s Word. From this thought, I compare this careful study to an archaeologist who sees the value of digging with a spoon as opposed to bringing in the bulldozer. Bible study becomes so sweet when we diligently and delicately dig into what God’s Word says and evaluate how we should apply it to our day to day lives…so we can live graciously regarding the head-scratching events we often encounter on our life journey. Thus, I have chosen the phrase, digging for nuggets when sharing Bible study strategies.
One of my personal rules of thumb is to always read the entire Psalm whenever I come across a particular ‘wow’ verse in Psalms that I choose to highlight or memorize. What was going on that motivated the Psalmist to write that ‘verse‘? The particular ‘wow’ verse often becomes a ‘WOW!’ verse when one ‘sees’ the context in which it was written.
This was the case with Psalm 55:22. What happened in Psalm 55 that led the Psalmist to write verse 22? The answer makes verse 22 that much sweeter!
Let’s take a look.
This particular Psalm is a lament written by David during a strenuous, frustrating time in his life when he had been betrayed and attacked by a dear friend, or companion (see verses 12-13).
Lament: a formal expression of sorrow or mourning especially in verse or song. (Dictionary.com)
David was expressing sorrow and frustration over his own head-scratching journey.
In verses 1-2, we see that David was restless and in turmoil as he cried out to God.
In verse 8, we see that David sought to escape what he described as a raging storm.
In verses 9-15, we see David’s overwhelming frustration as he described the details of his head-scratching circumstance.
In verse 16, David uses that word, the word, 'but.' Remember, in my ‘Change of Plans’ post when I talked about how we often tend to use the words ‘trust God’ and ‘but’ in the same sentence and decided that really isn’t the best way to deal with an unknown detour? Notice in verse 16 how David used the word, ‘but’. He acknowledged his frustration, yet stated with confidence, But God…will save me…hears my voice…will redeem me from the battle.
This is how we should use the word, ‘but!’
David, then, concluded with a song of praise, which is a common element of a lament Psalm. THIS is when verse 22 shows up.
Note the following comments about verse 22 from two of my favorite commentaries:
The Psalms’ editor of the Expositor’s Bible Commentary concludes his comments on verse 22 with, “He (God) sustains the righteous so they will not be overcome”.
You will not be overcome by your head-scratching circumstances.
C.H. Spurgeon, in Treasury of David, encourages his readers to picture a tree swaying violently in a raging storm….yet, the roots remain firmly planted. I love this word picture! It beautifully sums up the message of Psalm 55.
You may be blown about, but your roots will be firmly planted.
I will leave you with this quote by the great theologian mentioned above. C.H. Spurgeon concludes his commentary on Psalm 55 with this:
“He gives you your portion of suffering. Accept it with cheerful resignation and take it back to Him by your assured confidence.”
Casting all your cares on Him….for He cares for you…
Swallow hard…and carry on!
This particular passage stems from my two previous installments. If you are a new reader, you might choose to read them for better context.
Barker, Kenneth L and Kohnlenberger, John R III, editors, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary- Old Testament, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.
Spurgeon, Charles Haddon (updated by Roy H. Clarke), The Treasury of David, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997.
Wilkin, Jen, Women of the Word, Wheaton: Crossway, 2014.