Psalms 55:1-9 Betrayed Jesus
Posted by adventbiblestudy on January 17, 2014
Psalms 55:11-21 NLTse Everything is falling apart; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets. (12) It is not an enemy who taunts me– I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me– I could have hidden from them. (13) Instead, it is you–my equal, my companion and close friend. (14) What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God. (15) Let death stalk my enemies; let the grave swallow them alive, for evil makes its home within them. (16) But I will call on God, and the LORD willrescue me. (17) Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the LORD hears my voice. (18) He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me. (19) God, who has ruled forever, will hear me and humble them. (20) As for my companion, he betrayed his friends; he broke his promises. (21) His wordsare as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!
This sequence may seem strange to some people, a prophecy about Jesus’ betrayal, the parable of he sower, then back to Jesus’ betrayal. It’s not strange at all when we understand God’s method of teaching, repetition. When we look at the details we understand what lessons the sequence brings to light.
In the first study of Jesus’ betrayal found in Psalm 41 and John 13, we’re shown how Jesus was betrayed throughout history. The prophecy covered more than Judas. After all, Judas was not acting alone. He was an instrument in Satan’s hand, just one cog in Satan’s plan. His plans and attacks continue.
The next study on Psalm 49 and Matthew 13 showed a connection between understanding parables and forgiveness of sins. This is a rough subject for some people, but included one extreme showing how religious leaders choose to ignore God’s Word, don’t understand it, and insist on taking glory away from God and His Spirit while placing it on themselves. It may be a hard lesson for some to learn, but one they must learn before they can become effective workers in God’s field.
After learning we all betray Jesus to one degree or another and learning to understand His Word is a vital step to becoming a useful servant, God’s Spirit takes us back to review and add to the the lessons we need to learn about how and why we betray our Savior. We can see by the introduction to this segment of the prophecy, problems are all around. It doesn’t surprise me at all when I see this type of introduction. One of the greatest problems I see in Christianity today is false prophets just like Jesus predicted. He didn’t actually predict, He warned His disciples about them. Jesus knew they were going to come and they are alive and functioning today. One of the main deceptions the prophets use to deceive is claiming to have the ability to identify a single person or entity as the source of the problem. Then of course, asking for donations to battle this entity. Jesus identified the enemy. It’s Satan. Always has been, always will be, until he goes up in smoke. Jesus doesn’t want our minds drawn away from the lesson at hand like those false prophets are so good at doing. The problems are all around us, in the streets and in our homes and churches. More often than not the source of the problem is something we all have, pride.
David wasn’t concerned about the enemy and neither should we. Jesus made it clear, the battle is His. In Daniel we’re told not even Gabriel could stand up to Satan. He had to wait for Jesus to show up before he could free himself to address Daniel’s prayer. If God’s covering angel cannot defeat Satan, what makes you think donations to a false prophet are going to make a difference? Wouldn’t the money false prophets collect to battle physical enemies they name serve a better purpose sharing Jesus’ love, or as Matthew 13 showed us, teaching people how to understand God’s Word? The fact of the matter is, David was concerned about the friend who betrayed him. The prophecy shows it was a friend he walked together is God’s house. Of course David is referring to a future fulfillment. David didn’t build a house for God. Judas visited synagogues with Jesus and heard some of Jesus’ last sermons in the temple court, but the prophecy goes beyond Judas to the end of this world. At least until the end of probation.
This prophecy contains a number of key words. Some are the same, others similar or related. Each one points to a theme found in the New Testament where all the fulfillments are found. The collection of key words tells us the theme as well as making it easier for us to locate the chapter containing the fulfillment which will have have at least one word that is the same and others that are similar and related. A list of the key words makes the theme jump off the page.
Threats, cheating, distress
enemy, foes, enemies
friend, fellowship, companion
It’s easy to see this theme points to Jesus’ betrayal. Most people know this event is recorded in more than one gospel. Which one is the parallel chapter to Psalm 55, or will more than one reveal a deeper spiritual lesson? In this study we’ll look at one. To choose this one chapter we first investigate all the related chapters comparing the introductions and summations to Psalm 55. One chapter offers a summation sharing the same theme on a level much easier to understand. We begin our journey into the spiritual by first comparing the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Luke 22:1-7 NLTse The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. (2) The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to killJesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. (3) Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, (4) and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. (5) They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. (6) So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around. (7) Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed.
Although betray is the only key word Psalm 55 and Luke 22 share, there are other words in Luke 22 that are related to key words in Psalm 55. It may be easy to see the related theme, but we can’t allow ourselves to take anything for granted. Unless we study the details to learn how God arranged His prophecies and fulfillments, we don’t stand a chance of seeing fulfillments other people missed for generations. Unless we learn now, we’ll have trouble understanding the fulfillment of prophecies when God decides it’s time for the world to see them. Each prophecy about Jesus is a learning process. When we see a series of prophecies that seem simple to locate, we have to stop and think about why. There are two reasons God makes is easy to locate the fulfillment of a prophecy. There’s an important lesson to learn and part of that lesson is a new way of understanding His Word. To see how God arranged this sequence of key words, we’ll set up a chart to match up the key words in Psalm 55 to related words in Luke 22.
Psalm 55 Luke 22
Threats, cheating, distress plotting
enemy, foes, enemies leading priests and teachers of religious law, Satan
friend, fellowship, companion Judas Iscariot, disciples
rescue, ransoms people’s reaction, crowds
oppose, betrayed betray, arrest
words discuss, promised
smooth, soothing delighted, agreed
This isn’t a lesson that develops a far deeper insight than what we’ve seen by comparing repeated key words in the prophecies and fulfillments along with introductions and summations, but does introduce the concept of related words to be used in the future. After all, we are studying prophecies written long before they were fulfilled. It’s not unusual for God to introduce Bible Study concepts before He presents us with a real need for them.
We get more out of related key words by combining them with the basic Bible Study rule of looking back at previous texts. Religious leaders plotted against Jesus. The also tried to interfere with His ministry by using threats. They also cheated people they were supposed to be ministering to and used man made laws to distress them. When we compare the two texts we have little choice but to list leading priests and teachers of the religions law as foes, enemies, and group them all with Satan. We see physical aspects, the priests, aligned with a spiritual being, Satan. This shows how physical entities will also be compared to spiritual ideals in future studies. Friends, fellowship and the companion points to Judas Iscariot. To another degree Jesus’ other disciples betrayed Him along with His future disciples. Oppose and betrayal lead to Jesus’ arrest. Words are used to discuss and promise. In this case the texts refer to the words of the deceiver and people who betrayed and plotted against Jesus. Smooth and soothing which describe the words David’s enemies used is described as delighted and the agreement the religious leader came to when the plotted against Jesus. A review of how God uses related words from one texts to another is an important step in learning how to understand more of His Bible.
Psalms 55:1-9 NLTse Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! (2) Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. (3) My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me and angrily hunt me down. (4) My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. (5) Fear and tremblingoverwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking. (6) Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! (7) I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. (8) How quickly I would escape– far from this wild storm of hatred. (9) Confuse them, Lord, and frustrate their plans, for I see violence and conflict in the city.
David’s introduction to his prayer gets right to the point. David wants God to listen to his cry as he pleads with Him. Once again David, king of Israel with all his wealth, women, and servants finds himself in trouble. Looking at this as a prelude to a prophecy about Jesus’ betrayal, we see a human side of Christ. What would make Jesus afraid? Looking back a few chapters we see how Jesus taught in the temple court by sharing a number of parables. Each parable dwelt with the harvest. Each parable also had characters who opposed the harvest in a number of ways. The two sons sent to work in the vineyard had their own excuses. The tenants had no intention of sharing the harvest from the vineyard with the landlord who built and planted the vineyard. The wedding guests the king invited were also filled with excuses and little concern for the king, his son, or the wedding. Once we examine the details we see how this lesson extended to the next chapters. After leaving the temple we’re shown how unprepared Jesus’ disciples were. They praised the temple just like the Pharisees and yearned after answers to prophecy like the religious leaders. Jesus knew the disciples would use that knowledge as a weapon if given the chance. So Jesus shared the obvious while never answering their question. He told them what to look out for but didn’t reveal any details. Jesus’ disciples were not prepared to take part in the harvest at that point.
Then Jesus is betrayed by a friend. Why was Jesus shaking? What was He afraid of? We don’t know if or how much Jesus feared His own death. Jesus understood what was coming. He tried to explain it to His disciples a number of times. Just before Judas left to meet with the religious leaders, Jesus washed their feet. Each of these steps was a list of last minute lessons Jesus needed to teach. Jesus’ main fear was His disciples would not learn. Would they return to Him once He rose from the grave? Would all the lessons finally make come together to make sense? How many times have you read through the Bible? Did all of this make sense to you the first time? Maybe the second or third time? Are there still a few details you find now that you missed the first few times? You can see why Jesus had something to worry about. Why are there disciples we read so little about? Were there a few who accomplished little or nothing? Was there another besides Judas who couldn’t understand much of anything Jesus taught?
Do we give Jesus reasons to worry today? Are we learning everything God’s Spirit is holding out? Are we really the generation to enter into a full understanding of God’s Word, reaching the world and welcoming Jesus back? Are we getting the job done? Or are we repeating mistakes, making excuses and leaving the harvest to the next generation? Are we also turning down our invitation to the wedding feast?
Israel slept in the silence of twilight. Soon the sun would rise on the sleepy city surrounded by more misguided concepts on prophecy than grains of sand in the desert. A lonely shepherd looked at the sun rise, a scene viewed by countless generations before him. But this sunrise was different. A wall of brilliant light appeared in front of the rising sun. It appeared as a solid wall of fire from the heavens. The shepherd looked up as the sky appeared to open. Stars seemed to disappear. A flash of light appeared from the purple endless reaches of space. The young shepherd saw the figure of a heavenly being coming down. He suddenly found himself in the arms of an angel. Looking back at the wall of light like fire moving west ahead of the sun he saw trees uprooted and thrown to the ground. Hills slide into valleys. He saw mountains topple as the wall approached the sleeping city of mystery and prophecy. He could not bear to look.
Suddenly walls caved in, roofs fell, buildings seemed to be under a weight no structure could support as the wall of light moved across the city. The noise shook many people out of slumber. It didn’t matter what people did, hide under covers, cling together, run for safety, no one escaped the wall of destruction. The shepherd looked back to see the wall stretching from one end of the earth to another as it moved west at a consistent pace. Nothing slowed it down or stopped it. Cities, hills and mountains crumbled under it. The shepherd also saw other angels speeding ahead of the wall returning with their precious cargo. He looked around as people from all races, creeds, tribes, and countries joined him and his angel far above the world. Ahead of the wall angels like a bolt of lightening flew down to earth to gather the person they were appointed rescue. Each angle knew exactly who to go to and when. From one end of the world to the other widows, homeless people, single mothers with their families, people who used their lives to touch others, everyone who had a personal relationship with Jesus was taken up into the heavens to see the last remaining moments of the earth. As they looked around many saw angles holding friends and family who passed away years ago. All their attention was drawn to a light in the distance. As it got closer they made out the form of thousands of more angels. What were they holding? When they got nearer they saw each angel held a new born baby, all of those lost before their birth. In the middle of all of them was a bright light. As eyes grew accustom to the light they saw Him. It was Jesus surrounded by tens of thousands of his angels, each holding a new born babe ready to repopulate His Kingdom.
No one looked back at the destruction of the world as it lay in ruins. Satan and his angels were exposed in front of the wall. Something in its energy made them visible. They raced ahead of the wall witnessing the destruction of the world. They knew this was the end they’d been expecting for so long. Soon a vacant devastated world lay in front and behind them. Just when the evil angels thought they avoided annihilation from the walls of fire, a second unseen wall formed ahead of them. Tens of thousands of Satan’s angels spread out against the unseen wall in all directions. They seemed to be trapped in a compactor as the wall reached the first of the angels. Those against the invisible wall heard screams and moans from the east as the wall of fire continued to move west. Those at the invisible wall felt the crushing force of thousands of others trying to push against God’s unmovable force. Thousands met their fate in an instant. Satan was up against the wall pushing with all his force, cursing God while trying to rally his forces to attack the wall of fire. Satan couldn’t move, he couldn’t look behind himself. He was hopelessly pinned to the wall by his own forces. He listened as the screens and popping noises of his forces meeting their fate got closer and closer. He looked down to see the last few remaining features of the world, natural and made made features toppled by the wall of fire. He closed his eyes to accept his fate. Suddenly all was quite. Total darkness surrounded him. Satan looked around. He was alone with nothing but a devastated world under him. He flew to the ground to view the scene. In the light from distant stars he saw where his plans led. Satan looked up to the sky gazing upon a bright light growing smaller as it moved into distant space. Satan was alone.
Heaven was not what the shepherd expected. The welcome feast seemed to last forever. Seeing Jesus serve caught many people by surprise. It revealed one of the many lessons they had to learn. At last they could learn without the influences and distractions of the world. They sat along grassy slopes listening to the disciples and Paul teach. They told stories about what went through their minds as Jesus taught them on earth. They also answered questions from people. Jesus also taught them by the thousands and at times individually. Time was one of the most difficult adjustments. Weekly cycles were still in place as people adjusted to eternity. People and angles came to worship God, sharing all the wonders they discovered during the week. One of the most astounding features was found in the homes Jesus prepared for them in the city. The walls of jasper had a way of knowing their thoughts. When thinking about people they didn’t see in Heaven the crystal walls brought visions to life. The shepherd thought of historical leaders. One wall showed secret meetings, plans to overturn, plans to take control through force, deceit, and murder. Another wall showed how Jesus and His angels tried to reach them and how Jesus used people to reach out to them. The shepherd watched as they turned down one attempt after another to touch their hearts. Some famous leaders executed thousands in an attempt to quite their conscience. Another wall showed the other side of the spiritual battle — the role Satan and his angels played. Images of temptations showed Satan’s most secret plans. The forth wall showed what may have happened of those people turned their hearts to Jesus. Some people thought about those they thought would be in Heaven, but missed out on eternity. Secret desires, their true outlook on life and ambitions were shown. People were shown secret meetings and affairs, details that led to lies and adultery in lives of former spouses. Some parents saw the real life their children led. Parents learned how the worldly standard of love blinded them. The good lives their parents lived was not enough to for them to escape the destruction of the world.
As time passed, so did interest and memories of the world, replaced by the joys of Heaven. People learned what love really is as Jesus exhibited it everyday. It was a different life as people learned it is so easy to accept everyone and how eternity always gave them time to help, listen and share with others. The hardest lesson from the visions in the walls is when it came time for people to ask what more they could have done. Visions on the walls showed times when God’s Spirit called out for their help and they ignored His voice. There was little need to look at the wall showing what could have happened. Meetings with David, Daniel, Moses and others who served God showed them, we all made mistakes. Still Jesus called them all His own as He revealed details about the plan of salvation they never considered. Finally it was time to see the final chapter unfold. God called everyone together informing them it was time to return home.
No one wanted to leave their life in Heaven. Once assured Jesus was returning with them, everyone gathered into the city as it gently rose from the ground. Traveling through the outer reaches of space people looked out from the walls to finally see the expanse of God’s Kingdom as they passed by thousands of galaxies. Finally the earth was in view. No one recognized it as it appeared as a chard planet drifting along in space. It didn’t appear like people remembered it. What happened to the oceans and continents?
The city hung in the air as Jesus went out ahead to prepare a place for the city. In a moment it was ready. The city gently touched down as Jesus took His place on the wall. Everyone was gathered on the walls looking out as the earth took on a new form. Ancient kingdoms sprouted up among modern cities in every directions. Some trees appeared as fields of green grass spread out from the walls of the New City Jerusalem. Then people appeared. People of all shapes, sizes, and eras. Ancient warriors came to life with the thought of conquest still on their minds. Satan watched from his hiding place as he saw his evil angels once again around him. Near the walls religious leaders from different times in history came back to life. They gazed up at the tall walls of the city wondering what happened. It didn’t take long for them to hear questions from those they used to lead. Most of them answered with the first thought that popped into their minds. The long rest changed nothing. As soon as they rose they instantly returned to the way they were. Some of them looked up at the walls admitting their mistakes, pleading for mercy. The majority quickly invented new stories insisting they were right all along and the city in front of them was the fulfillment of prophecy as they quoted tiny bits and pieces of scripture mixed in with their long winded explanations – just like they’ve always done.
It didn’t take long for Satan to access the situation as he remembered the worldly leaders he was able to deceive throughout history. He gathered them together along with priests and other spiritual leaders he needed to rally his troops. The majority of masses were confused and bewildered as it soon became evident their spiritual leaders changed their stories from moment to moment. Fighting began to break out among religious factions like in days past. Satan needed a way to gather them under his control as he pleaded for unity. Satan realized he was now visible to everyone. To most He appeared as an angel of light. He used this to his advantage as he pointed out the kingdoms around them. He told the people he raised them up and prepared this world for them while they slept in the grave. Then he pointed out the great city New Jerusalem. Convincing the people this city was the final test of their loyalty Satan gathered his forces.
Not everyone joined Satan. Some of them knew enough to know where they were and why. Many religious leaders stood gazing up at the crystal walls wondering how they were misled. Some saw their errors and explained it to their followers gathered outside the city walls. Satan had all those who would not join him gathered into groups around the city walls. It was Satan’s plans to whip his followers into a frenzy of hate and violence before mounting an attack on the city. The people who saw they made a mistake cried for mercy as Satan’s armies prepared to slaughter all those who opposed them. Modern warriors quickly adopted to ancient warfare, the crude weapons and instruments of torture they were able to quickly forge. As they raised their weapons and prepared the instruments of torture to inflict pain, suffering, and death on the few who refused to join forces with Satan, their victims suddenly were engulfed in a sea of fire. In a moment their victims were gone, but not the fire as it spread up from the ground engulfing Satan’s forces. He watched as the fire spread among the armies scattering in fear until it reached the cities of his commanders. Satan stood his ground. He didn’t run this time as the prophecies flashed through his mind. For the first time they began to make sense as Satan looked back to see each one was fulfilled in perfect order. As he watched them flee, Satan looked back at how he misled the angles in Heaven. Having lost their power of flight, they had no hope against the flames. Finally Satan himself faced the flames. When he was gone the smoke drifted up past the sky, into the depths of space never to be seen again.
All eyes turned to Jesus on the wall as everyone on the walls bowed down in worship. It was done. It was time for a new beginning as Jesus put out a warm glow. Once again the world was chard. A river flowed out from Jesus’ throne as the glow from Jesus spread across the land. Trees, bushes, crops, and grass came up from the ground along the river and spread out in all directions. Everyone watched as Jesus recreated the world in front of their eyes. Soon they gazed upon a scene they grew accustom to during their thousand years in Heaven. Now they were home.
What side of the wall are you going to be on? One day it will be too late to repent and change. Is your life wasted or a blessing? Will the false angel of light deceive you or will you know when he comes promising wealth and victory? Will you know today or when it’s too late?
Preachers, are you leading people to Jesus or to you? Are you showing them God’s throne today, or are you happy when they kneel before you in worship? Are you changed? Are you on fire for Christ in this life or are you going to be one of those religious leaders trying to explain why you find ourselves outside of the walls knowing there is no way in? There is no middle ground, no way of doing half a job, no way of presenting half a message, or going half way to God’s throne. No one will be half inside God’s city and half outside.
Pastor are you ready to look into the walls of New Jerusalem and see how things may have been? Are you ready to face your short comings today, to open your heart to Jesus and let Him lead? Are you ready to plead with Jesus so He can cleanse you with His blood and present you to His Father in Heaven today? Are you ready to boldly approach God’s throne to listen to His infinite wisdom? Pastor are you ready to admit your limitations? Are you ready to develop your own personal relationship with Jesus? Are you prepared to stop holding people back from the relationship they need and deserve? Are you ready to learn what that relationship really is so you can be an effective worker in God’s field? Are you willing to be a worker side by side with everyone as your equal?
Are you religious leaders ready to give up hopes of wealth, power, and glory and give it all to God, living on trust and security knowing this life is only temporary and will one day be less than smoke? Are you willing to open your hearts to those who are lost today, but saved tomorrow, or next week, or next year? Do you believe Jesus is the Messiah or are you like the priests who refused to give up their cherished ideas? Are you ready to look deep into God’s Word and let His Spirit teach you the lessons its contained long before you were born?
Psalms 55:22-23 NLTse Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (23) But you, O God, will send the wicked down to the pit of destruction. Murderers and liars will die young, but I am trusting you to save me.
Luke 22:66-71 NLTse At daybreak all the elders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council, (67) and they said, “Tell us, are you the Messiah?” But he replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. (68) And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. (69) But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.” (70) They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?” And he replied, “You say that I am.” (71) “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.
Comparing summations may be difficult for some because it cuts close to the heart. Some people don’t want to open up and let it in. David presents a choice. Open up and give it all to God, or go down to the pit of destruction. Luke sums it up in his story. You either believe Jesus is the Son of God, or your looking for another one to come along because you don’t believe everything He teaches. The question is, do you really believe, or do you think your way is better?