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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 55

Preacher's Complete Homiletical CommentaryPreacher's Homiletical

Verses 1-23


Superscription.—“To the Chief Musician on Neginoth.” See introduction to Psalms 54:0Maschil,” an instruction. Hengstenberg: “The Psalmist wishes to show how, in such a situation of excitement, a person should conduct himself; how he should carry up what has occasioned it to God, and compose himself to rest again through the consideration of God’s love and righteousness.”

Occasion.—We have no doubt that the psalm has an historical reference; but to what occasion it refers cannot now be determined with certainty. Barnes: “Of all the known events in the life of David, the supposition which regards the psalm as composed during the rebellion of Absalom, and at the special time when he learned that the man whom he trusted—Ahithophel—was among the traitors, is the most probable. All the circumstances in the psalm agree with his condition at that time, and the occasion was one in which the persecuted and much-afflicted king would be likely to pour out the desires of his heart before God” (2 Samuel 15:10-31).


(Psalms 55:1-8.)

This cry of the troubled Psalmist reveals—

I. The cause of his distress. This was the conduct of his enemies as set forth in Psalms 55:3 :

1. Their evil speeches. “Because of the voice of the enemy.” At this time David was assailed with reproaches, slanders, and threats (2 Samuel 15:3-4). (See “The Hom. Com.,” on Psalms 41:5-9; Psalms 42:2.)

2. Their wicked deeds. “Because of the oppression of the wicked; for they cast iniquity upon me.” Hengstenberg renders the last clause thus: “for they bend mischief over me.” And Conant: “For they cause mischief to impend over me.” Absalom and Ahithophel and their followers were doing their utmost to take away both the kingdom and the life of the poet-king. Their evil doings were an intolerable burden to him, beneath which his heart fainted and his strength failed.

3. Their deadly hatred. “In wrath they hate me.” Hengstenberg: “In wrath they persecute me.” Conant: “In anger they lay a snare for me.” They had nursed their ambitious and wicked schemes until their hearts were full of deep and deadly hatred against him who stood in the way and prevented their attainment. “There was in their enmity both the heat and violence of anger, or sudden passion, and the implacableness of hatred and rooted malice.”

II. The description of his distress. The Psalmist represents himself as suffering—

1. Great mental anxiety. This seems to be the idea of the second clause of Psalms 55:2. “I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise.” Moll: “I reel to and fro in my complaint and must groan.” Conant: “I am restless in my complaining and disquieted.” Perowne: “אָרִיד from a verb, רִיד, which occurs in three other passages, Genesis 27:40; Jeremiah 2:31; Hosea 12:1. Properly it signifies to wander restlessly, especially as homeless, without fixed abode, &c. Here it is used of the restless tossing to and fro of the mind, filled with cares and anxieties.” The mind of David was at this time exercised by the most anxious thought as to the measures he should adopt, and the course he should pursue for his own safety and the good of his distracted realm.

2. Deep pain of heart. “My heart is sore pained within me.” Moll: “ ‘My heart writhes within me.’ The trouble is not merely an external one, it affects his bowels, his vitals, his inmost soul.” David was deeply wounded in the innermost and most sensitive part of his nature. His own son whom he loved was the head and origin of the rebellion. “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” And his bosom friend whom he trusted, Ahithophel, was chief counsellor of the rebels. Well may his “heart writhe within” him.

3. Overwhelming and unspeakable dread. “The terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.” Hengstenberg: “The terrors of death seize the Psalmist, because the enemies threaten his life.” Barnes: “ ‘Horror hath overwhelmed me.’ Marg., as in Heb., ‘covered me.’ That is, it had come upon him so as to cover or envelop him entirely. The shades of horror and despair spread all around and above him, and all things were filled with gloom. The word rendered horror occurs only in three other places; Ezekiel 7:18, rendered (as here, horror; Job 21:6, rendered trembling; and Isaiah 21:4, rendered fearfulness. It refers to that state when we are deeply agitated with fear.” If we think of the scenes and circumstances through which David was passing, we shall see that they were likely to occasion feelings so deep and painful and dreadful, that even the strong language here used does not adequately express them. “The ingratitude and rebellion of a son,—the fact of being driven away from his throne,—the number of his enemies,—the unexpected news that Ahithophel was among them,—and the entire uncertainty of the result, justified the use of this strong language.”

III. His desire in his distress. “And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove,” &c. He desires to escape quickly from the wrath and strife of men to the peace and safety of Nature’s retirements,—to get away from the falsity and cruelty of human society into the solitudes of true and kindly Nature. Jeremiah: “Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.”

“Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more. My ear is pain’d,
My soul is sick with every day’s report
Of wrong and outrage with which earth is fill’d.”—Cowper.

The Psalmist desired to depart

(1) quickly. “Wings like a dove” is a figure of rapid flight. “I would hasten my escape.”

(2) Completely. “I would wander far off.” “I would make the distance far by wandering.” He would completely separate himself from the strife and tumult of the city and human society.

(3) Permanently. “I would flee away, and abide.” “This is more literal, and more in accordance with the parallelism than the translation, ‘be at rest,’ of the A. V.;” and is adopted by Delitzsch, Hengstenberg, Hupfield, Moll, et al.

1. This desire was natural. There was no feeling of revenge in it. He did not sigh for the wings of a hawk to fly upon the prey, but for those of the innocent dove, to escape from the birds of prey. Suffering as he was from men whom he had loved and trusted, it was natural that David should long to escape from man to nature, and to have done with the faithless and ungrateful.

2. This desire was mistaken. If he had obtained his wish, the issue would probably have been disappointing. Our well-being and joy depend on our inner condition, not on our outward circumstances. If the brain and heart be unquiet themselves, neither society nor solitude can give them rest. If the peace of God be in the soul, the world’s most tumultuous and trying scenes cannot deprive us of it.

3. This desire was significant. To us it clearly suggests that there is for man a place as well as a state of rest. The longing of the heart for rest is prophetic of a realm where peaceful souls dwell amid peaceful circumstances. There is a world into which sin and sorrow and strife never enter; but it is not here. Our rest, our home, is not here. “Arise ye and depart; for this is not your rest,” &c.

IV. His prayer in his distress. “Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not Thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me.” These petitions involve a large measure of faith in God.

1. In His accessibleness. David believed in the possibility and privilege of man speaking unto his Maker. He regarded God as the hearer of prayer.

2. In His intreatibleness. “Hide no Thyself,” &c. Arnd: “In great straits, it seems as if God hides Himself from us, as the prophet Jeremiah speaks in chap. 3 of his Lamentations: ‘Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.’ But our gracious God cannot hide Himself from our prayer; the prayer does still press through the clouds and find Him. God’s fatherly heart does not permit Him to hear us cry and beg, without turning to us, as a father when he bears his children cry.” David regarded God as the answerer of prayer.

3. In His sufficiency. The Psalmist was convinced that if God graciously received his prayer and entertained his case, it would be well with him notwithstanding the malice and might and multitude of his foes. “He is able to do exceeding abundantly,” &c.


1. That the best of men in this world are exposed to severest trials.

2. That religion does not make men insensible to pain and grief.

3. That religion provides for men an all-sufficient resource in trial. Prayer to a gracious, all-wise, and almighty Friend.

4. That religion faithfully promises full and blessed satisfaction to man’s craving for rest.

(1) Here the rest of faith, satisfied affections, &c.—rest amidst trial, peace in conflict.
(2) Hereafter, in addition to this rest of soul, complete rest from conflict, trial, suffering, and sin.

“There shall no tempests blow,

No scorching noontide heat;

There shall be no more snow,

No weary wand’ring feet;

So we lift our trusting eyes

From the hills our fathers trod.

To the quiet of the skies

To the Sabbath of our God.”



(Psalms 55:9-15.)

“The tone of sadness and melancholy now gives way to one of hot and passionate indignation;” and the poet sketches the sad scenes which he had witnessed in the city, and the painful experiences through which he had passed.

I. Sore evils in the city. “I have seen violence and strife in the city,” &c., Psalms 55:9-11.

1. The evils were manifold in form. Here we have:—

(1) Rebellion against the civil power. “Violence and strife in the city.”
(2) Extortion and fraud in commerce. “Deceit and guile depart not from her streets.” Hengstenberg: “There depart not from its market oppression and deceit.” Conant: “From her market-place depart not extortion and deceit.” The word which is rendered “streets” and “markets” denotes “the large open spaces at the gates of the oriental cities, where were the markets, the courts of justice, and general places of public concourse.” Every phase of life seems to have become depraved. “Wickedness was in the midst” of the city.
2. The evils were universal in extent. They were “in the city” and going “about it upon the walls;” they were “in the midst thereof” and in the open spaces before the gates. “The city was wholly and utterly filled with wickedness.”

3. The evils were continuous in their activities. “Day and night they go about,” &c. They “depart not,” &c. Wickedness was unwearied and incessant in its doings.

4. The evils were painful in their results. “Mischief and sorrow are in the midst of it.” Conant: “Trouble and sorrow are within her.” The whole city in all its parts and at all times was full of wickedness; and the result was distress and grief. Where wickedness abounds, misery will not be wanting. Sin is the fruitful parent of sorrow. It is well that trouble does follow transgression. We wonder not that David’s heart was stirred with grief and indignation as he beheld the city so filled with untiring wickedness and sore anguish. No person of enlightened piety can contemplate the sins and sorrows of a great city without emotions of deep grief and earnest solicitude.

The poet also sketches some of his own painful experiences.

II. Base treachery in friendship. “For it was not an enemy that reproached me,” &c., Psalms 55:12-14. We see here:—

1. Friendship enjoyed. The Psalmist dwells upon this point with touching minuteness. He shows us a friendship:

(1) Of great intimacy and trust. “A man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.” “Mine equal.” “Friendship, according to the rule, ‘binds only equals,’ and these, wherever it actually obtains, with peculiarly intimate bonds.” “My guide.” “אַלּוּף is here not guide, but companion, associate, one joined in intimate communion.” Barnes: “The phrase ‘mine acquaintance’ is a feeble expression, and does not convey the full force of the original, which denotes a more intimate friend than would be suggested by the word ‘acquaintance.’ It is language applied to one whom we thoroughly know, and who knows us; and this exists only in the case of very intimate friends.” David had regarded Ahithophel as such a friend.

(2) In holiest engagements. “We walked unto the house of God in company.” More correctly: “We walked into the house of God in the festal crowd.” They united as dear friends in acts of sacred worship to the one God. “The fellowship of devotion entwines the hearts of men with the most tender cords.” Such friendships should triumph over death itself.
(3) Affording great pleasure. “We took sweet counsel together.” Literally: “We sweetened counsel together.” Their familiar converse was mutually delightful. In public and in private, in religion and in politics, their friendship had been most intimate and confiding and pleasurable.
2. Friendship violated.

(1) By slander. “It was not an enemy that reproached me.” This trusted friend had taken part with his detractors and calumniators (2 Samuel 15:31).

(2) By base and cruel opposition. “Magnify himself against me.” Conant: “Hath acted proudly against me.” The treacherous man was seeking to accomplish the downfall and ruin of David, that he might thereby rise to greater distinction and power. So the tender and holy bonds of friendship, which should ever be softer than gossamer, yet stronger than cable, were utterly outraged.
3. Friendship injured and complaining. David felt that he had been bitterly wronged, and very pathetically he complains of the wrong. His complaint suggests that the hostility of those we counted friends, is—

(1) More painful than that of enemies. “It was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it.” Berleb. Bible: “For from such one would expect nothing better, and might still find consolation respecting it from one’s friends.” The treachery of those whom we have taken into our innermost confidence is one of the most bitter of life’s experiences.

(2) More perilous than that of enemies. “Then I would have hid myself from him.” We can guard against the injuries of an open, or of a suspected enemy; but who can guard against the injuries of a secret, treacherous foe, whom we regard and trust as a friend?

(3) More criminal than that of enemies. Such hostility outrages the tenderest and holiest feelings, and violates the most sacred obligations. Such were some of the painful experiences of the poet at this time. Alas, that thousands have drank of the same bitter cup!

“Where you are liberal of your loves and counsel
Be sure you be not loose; for those you make friends,
And give your hearts to, when they once perceive
The least rub in your fortunes, fall away
Like water from ye, never found again,
But where they mean to sink ye.”


“And what is friendship but a name,

A charm that lulls to sleep!

A shade that follows wealth or fame,

And leaves the wretch to weep!”


See “The Hom. Com.,” on Psalms 41:9.

III. Earnest prayer in suffering. David prays for—

1. The defeat of his enemiesplans by the division of their counsels. “O Lord, divide their tongues.” Alexander: “Confound their speech, or make it unintelligible, and, as a necessary consequence, confound their counsels. There is obvious reference to the confusion of tongues at Babel (Genesis 11:7-9), as a great historical example of the way in which God is accustomed and determined to defeat the purposes of wicked men and execute His own.”

2. The sudden destruction of his enemies. “Destroy, O Lord.” Hengstenberg: “Devour, Lord.” The word properly signifies, swallow up. “Let death seize upon them, let them go down quick into hell.” Conant’s translation is more accurate: “Desolations are upon them; they shall go down alive to the under world.” There is a reference here to the destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16:33). David prays that a similar destruction may befall his enemies. And the reason upon which his prayer is based is that “wickedness is in their dwellings, among them.” Let them perish because of their wickedness.


1. Be careful in the selection of friends and the formation of friendships.

2. Prize true friends.

“The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of steel.”—Shakespeare.

“A man that hath friends must show himself friendly,” &c.

3. Yet confide not too fully in any human friend; for even the truest may fail us in life’s great needs for lack of power to aid, &c.

4. God alone is supremely trust-worthy. He cannot fail either in faithfulness or in power, &c.


(Psalms 55:16-23.)

In this portion of the Psalm the poet expresses his assured hope of deliverance from all his enemies and dangers. Consider—

I. The nature of his confidence. “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me,” &c.

1. His confidence was comprehensive. He trusted that

(1) God would destroy his enemies. “God shall hear and afflict them.” Hengstenberg: “God shall hear and answer them.” He would hear the angry voices of the wicked, and in judgment He would give them a sharp answer. “Thou, O God, shalt bring them down to the pit of destruction,” &c. “The pit of destruction” is Sheol. The idea is, that God would cut them off even as the Psalmist had already prayed Him to do.

(2) God would save him. He regards this salvation as including (α) Support and preservation during his trials and dangers. “He shall sustain thee, He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (β) Deliverance from his trials and dangers. “The Lord shall save me … He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.” He was quite confident that God would deliver him in safety from those who were making war against him. This confidence had brought peace to him in the midst of danger, and he had an assured hope of the restoration of outward peace. This is a confidence which every believer in the Lord may cherish as regards his salvation from inward and from outward enemies. If our trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ our complete triumph and our full salvation are gloriously certain.

2. His confidence was strong. There is no trace of hesitation or doubt in the declaration of the Psalmist. He speaks with the clear accent of assured conviction. He is so certain of his deliverance that he speaks of it as already accomplished. “He hath redeemed my soul in peace,” &c. He is as sure of the victory as if it were already won. Such confidence

(1) honours God,
(2) imparts courage and strength, and
(3) insures a rich reward.
3. His confidence was intelligent. It was neither ignorant nor presumptuous, but intelligent and reverent. He does not helplessly and unreasonably look to God to save him by miracle; but recognises the fact that salvation is given to us in the use of the means. He mentions as means to his deliverance—

(1) Prayer. “As for me, I will call upon God,” &c. He resolves to pray frequently. “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray.” Moll: “The three principal parts of the day, usually observed as the special times of prayer among the Orientals. Or it may, perhaps, be a practical expression for the whole day, equivalent to, at all times, without ceasing.” He resolves to pray fervently. “I will pray and cry aloud.” Hengstenberg: “I will meditate and cry aloud.” Conant: “I will lament and sigh.” Moll: “Complain and groan.” The idea seems to be that his feelings were deep and strong, and that he would give to them appropriate expression in prayer to God. Deep emotions cannot be restrained in their utterance within the limits of formal and ordinary expressions. Such were the emotions of the Psalmist.

(2) Trust. He regarded the continuance of his confidence as essential to his salvation. Hence he exhorts himself—“Cast thy burden upon the Lord;” and he resolves, “I will trust in Thee.” The continued exercise of faith is an essential condition of calmness and strength and conquest. And we know from the history that, in grappling with the rebellion of Absalom and the treachery of Ahithophel, David not only prayed and trusted, but planned and laboured also. To faith and prayer he added thought and effort (2 Samuel 15-18.). In all this the poet is an example to us. Our confidence in God should be intelligent. The faith which is inculcated and encouraged in the Bible, and which God has promised to reward, is sublimely reasonable. It is a discerning, strong, victorious thing. And God has promised to crown the exercise of it with His blessing.

II. The grounds of his confidence. The Psalmist shows to us that his faith was based on—

1. The number of his enemies. “For there were many with me.” Moll: “The translation of the A. V. ‘with me’ is literal, but conveys a wrong meaning. The Heb. preposition, like the English with, has a double use, mutual action may be co-operative or antagonistic. Thus we say: fight with = against, to be angry with = against. The meaning here as determined by the context is clearly against.” The rebel army that was waging war against David was a numerous one (2 Samuel 15:12; 2 Samuel 17:11; 2 Samuel 18:7). David took encouragement from this fact to expect the interposition of God for his salvation. When our enemies are many and strong, then God will interpose for us, if our cause be righteous, and our trust reposed in Him (2 Kings 6:13-18; 2 Chronicles 20:12; 2 Chronicles 20:23-25).

2. The character of his enemies. They were—

(1) Irreligious. “They fear not God.” They lived in open disregard of God.

(2) Persistent in evil. “They have no changes.” The word חֲלִיפוֹת, translated “changes,” is used in Job 10:17; Job 14:14, in a military sense, signifying discharges, relief-troops. Accordingly Hengstenberg translates: “To whom there is no discharge,” and interprets it as signifying “they who incessantly and constantly serve sin and fear not God.” Or it may mean that there was no change in their conduct. They were not occasional, but persistent, evil doers. Thus in the latter part of Psalms 55:19 we have a compendium of Psalms 55:9-11.

(3) Treacherous. “He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.” The use of the singular points to some one who was pre-eminent in treachery, e.g., Ahithophel. These verses are a compendium of Psalms 55:12-14.

(4) Cruel. The Psalmist speaks of them as “bloody and deceitful men.” Violent and cruel were they in heart and in action. The wickedness of his enemies is to David a ground of assurance that God will deliver him from their base designs and doings. While God is God He must be hostile to men of such character. He must oppose and thwart their designs. He must deliver His servants from them.

3. The ancient sovereignty of God. “He that abideth of old.” Hengstenberg: “He who is throned of old.” Moll: “He that sitteth on the throne of old.” (Comp. Psalms 74:12; Habakkuk 1:12.) The deeds by which the Lord had manifested His righteous sovereignty in past ages encouraged the Psalmist to expect His interposition for his deliverance from present perils. M. Henry: “Mortal men, though ever so high and strong, will easily be crushed by an eternal God, and are a very unequal match for Him.” Arndt “It is a great consolation when one is in trouble and persecution to think how God still lives, and has always proved Himself to be a gracious God towards those who fear Him.”

Such, then, was the sure basis upon which the triumphant confidence of the distressed and imperilled poet-king rested.

CONCLUSION.—See the conquering power of faith in God, and exercise it. See it in David. In Paul (2 Corinthians 4:8-18). “This is the victory that over-cometh the world, even our faith.”


Psalms 55:22. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord; and He shall sustain thee.”

This verse is variously translated. Margin: “Cast thy gift upon the Lord,” &c. Hengstenberg: “Cast upon the Lord thy salvation, and He shall take care of thee,” &c. Gesenius: “Cast upon Jehovah what He hath given (or laid upon) thee; that is, thy lot.” Fuerst: “Leave to God the lot, intrust God with it. According to another meaning of יָהַב (to give up, to impose) יְהָב may signify a burden.” Moll: “That which is laid upon thee.” Conant: “Cast thy burden on Jehovah,” &c.

I. Man is burdened. This fact is too painfully obvious to require proof. Physically many are burdened by severe labours and sufferings. Mentally many are burdened by anxieties, perplexities, over-tasked brain, &c. Our social relations, which are frequently of much benefit and blessing to us, are seldom free from cares, sorrows, and distresses. Even the religious life has its burdens for man. Religion itself is not a burden; but, by becoming religious, a man becomes sensible of burdens that he did not feel before. The mysteries of the Divine administration of human affairs, the imperfection of our individual life, the seeming abortiveness of much of our effort for the good of ourselves and others, seasons of spiritual darkness, &c.—these are burdens. The fact that we are burdened is significant.

1. It indicates that man is not in unison with the Divine order. God did not create man with a load, did not make him to be burdened, &c.

2. It indicates also the greatness of human nature. We feel the burden, we struggle against it, we bear up under it, we strive to be rid of it. In this we have a reminiscence of a free and blessed past, and a pledge of a free and glorious future. Our sense of the burden is an augury of approaching release from it.

II. Man is exhorted to cast his burden upon the Lord. We have a strong tendency to strive to bear our own burden “even when we are almost sinking beneath it. In itself this tendency is good. It is the principle of self-reliance leading us to attempt self-help. But this tendency has become corrupted by association with pride and a false independence. Hence, when man is being crushed by it, in imagined self-sufficiency, he refuses to take his burden to the Lord. Spiritual weakness is ever boastful, while spiritual strength is ever humble. We mistake weakness for strength when we refuse to cast our burden upon the Lord. There are some who do not take their burden to the Lord because their ideas of Him are false, arising from a heart alienated from Him. They say—“God does not care for man; we may suffer, we may perish; but He does not care. He is indifferent, even if He be not cruel to us.” Estrangement from God explains this. David exhorts his soul to cast its burden upon the Lord, &c. “The strong part of the soul speaks to the weak.” Or he speaks as one of the suffering righteous, and in their name. So let the troubled children of God do now. But how can we cast our burden upon the Lord? By believing prayer. Lay all at the foot of God’s throne: tell Him all your troubles, even as a child tells all its sorrows to its mother. You know how the heart is relieved by unfolding its burdens to a dear friend. We can tell all to God—nothing is too secret, nothing too sacred.

III. Man is encouraged to cast his burden upon the Lord by the assurance of his support. “He shall sustain thee.” How?

1. By removing the burden. The poverty that crushes, the mystery that bewilders, the suffering that distresses, in answer to prayer He sometimes removes.

2. By disclosing the design of the burden. When we know the reason of our troubles, in many instances their chief painfulness is gone, and we bow reverently to the will of God.

3. By increasing our strength, so that we shall not be crushed by its load. This is, perhaps, His most frequent method of relief. This the text distinctly promises, “He shall sustain thee.” “My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

4. By unfolding to us a bright future. The toil and burden will not continue long: then rest and joy, &c.

CONCLUSION.—The character of God, the promises of His Word, and the experience of His people in all ages, unite in encouraging us to trust the assurance, and comply with the precept of the text.


(Psalms 55:22.)

I. The duty enjoined. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord.” A person’s burden is his trouble, his care, or whatever disturbs the peace of his mind. There is no trouble in heaven; there was none in Eden; and believers in Christ will be delivered from trouble when they shall be delivered from sin (Isaiah 35:10).

To have a refuge in trouble is a great privilege.… God has made Himself to be as a refuge through the mediation of Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:18), … God is a suitable refuge: He can sustain; He can deliver; He is all-sufficient, &c.… By precept, by promise, by the example of others, and the deliverances which they have experienced, we are encouraged to “cast our burden upon the Lord.” We should do so—

1. When oppressed with a sense of sin and guilt.

2. In times of temptation.

3. In times of trouble. There are personal troubles, family troubles, troubles from providential changes, e.g., Job’s, and troubles from the wickedness of our fellow-men, and the treachery of professed friends.

4. In seasons of affliction. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord.” Go to Him as you would to your best friend, and pour out your wants before Him.

II. The promises with which this precept is enforced.

1. “He shall sustain thee.” This implies that, if we make God our refuge,

(1) He will save us from despondency. He will sustain us with hope.

(2) He will impart to us spiritual strength. “As thy days so shall thy strength be.”

(3) He will overrule all our trials and afflictions for our good.

2. “He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” This promise applies to those who make God their refuge, and in all their trials pursue a course of holy obedience. It implies—

(1) That they shall not be drawn aside by their trials from the path of obedience.

(2) That they shall not be moved from the source of their comfort.

(3) Some read the words, they shall not be moved for ever, implying that they shall not be utterly cast down.


1. Learn the importance of faith in the Divine promises.

2. In making God our refuge in our troubles we must be in the path of duty.

3. The miserable condition of those who have not God for their refuge.

4. The privilege of having God for our refuge shows the value and the importance of religion.

5. How awful will be the end of those who never make God their refuge!—Abridged from an unpublished MS.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Psalms 55". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/phc/psalms-55.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
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