My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.
“Et tu, Brute?” This is one of the most famous lines from William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. The phrase, roughly translated into English as “You too, Brutus?” was meant to suggest that Caesar was surprised that even Brutus was in on the assassination plot against him. Whether Julius Caesar actually said those words or not is up for debate; many historians think Shakespeare was exercising creative license when he wrote them into his play. Some historians also say that Brutus’ involvement in the plot was not the most surprising betrayal. That honor, they say, should go to a fellow named Decimus. Decimus had a long history of loyalty to Caesar and was a part of his inner circle. It was Decimus who actually lured Caesar into the Senate chambers that day after he decided not to show up, because he had sensed something was off.
A truth about betrayal is that it never comes from enemies or those who are not close to you. By definition, betrayal can only come from someone who we have let close to us. In today’s Psalm, David is processing the pain that comes through the betrayal of someone close. A few verses earlier (55:13) David identifies the betrayer as someone who had been “my equal,” “my companion,” “my familiar friend,” only to later be turned on and stabbed in the back. He had taken the covenant of friendship that had been forged and tore it to pieces (55:20). David is hurting and he is seeking comfort by pouring out his aching heart to God.
Unfortunately, betrayal is a part of life for all of us during our time on this earth. Our own experience shows us this, history tells us this, and the Bible demonstrates this. In the Old Testament, a well-known betrayal story involves a young man named Joseph who was mistreated and sold into slavery by his own brothers (Genesis 37). Imagine the pain he must have felt. Another more famous betrayal is connected to the most pivotal event in all of human history, the death and resurrection of Christ. Even today, the name Judas is synonymous with betrayal. What level of disappointment, sadness, and anguish must Jesus have experienced as Judas turned on Him?
When you experience betrayal, the first thing you need to remember is that God has felt it too. The prophet Jeremiah records God’s feelings concisely, “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me’, but she did not return….” (Jeremiah 3:6-7) Betrayal hurts, and there is no shortcut fix for that, but we can gain comfort in the fact that God cares about our hurt because He knows exactly what it’s like. David had figured this out about God, that’s why he could write with confidence that “…I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.” (Psalm 55:17) After you acknowledge that God understands, and after you have voiced your pain to God, trust that He hears and knows exactly how to deal with it in your life.
Prayer for Today:
God, I am sorry for the pain that we, your creation, have caused You. I thank You for being concerned about my pain and promising to hear me when I cry out to You. Amen.