Are you tired of those Facebook verses with the pretty pictures?

In the KJV, Psalm 55:17-Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

I saw this verse as you do on Facebook on a nice picture of a sunrise and a figure in the background. If you just read the verse, you think, that’s nice–we pray to God three times a day and He will hear us. But when I looked at the Hebrew verbs for pray and cry aloud, I got a different story.

There was no “pray” there. The verb means to muse, complain, talk. Job used the verb for complaining. But he also used it when communing with God. I felt like there was a lot more to this verb. See for yourself:

Then what about crying aloud. Sometimes we say, “for crying outloud!” Now I know where it comes from. The verb means to murmur, growl, roar. Mmmm…this is not quite what the picture in Facebook was showing. No quiet scene here. Check it out here:

Ok, so I could study these verbs for hours and check what all the Hebrew scholars say. Get the rabbis, etc. Or I could do it the easy way. I could read the Psalm!

That’s where I got my answer. The psalmist here is not happy. He’s pretty distressed and anxious due to the enemy. Sounds like he could have written it for today. He is also upset because one of his close friends went against him. Now that puts verse 17 in context. See for yourself in the NET version:

1Listen, O God, to my prayer!

Do not ignore my appeal for mercy!

2Pay attention to me and answer me!

I am so upset and distressed, I am beside myself,

3because of what the enemy says,

and because of how the wicked pressure me,

for they hurl trouble down upon me

and angrily attack me.

4My heart beats violently within me;

the horrors of death overcome me.

5Fear and panic overpower me;

terror overwhelms me.

6I say, “I wish I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and settle in a safe place!

7Look, I will escape to a distant place;

I will stay in the wilderness. (Selah)

8I will hurry off to a place that is safe

from the strong wind and the gale.”

9Confuse them, O Lord!

Frustrate their plans!

For I see violence and conflict in the city.

10Day and night they walk around on its walls,

while wickedness and destruction are within it.

11Disaster is within it;

violence and deceit do not depart from its public square.

12Indeed, it is not an enemy who insults me,

or else I could bear it;

it is not one who hates me who arrogantly taunts me,

or else I could hide from him.

13But it is you, a man like me,

my close friend in whom I confided.

14We would share personal thoughts with each other;

in God’s temple we would walk together among the crowd.

15May death destroy them!

May they go down alive into Sheol!

For evil is in their dwelling place and in their midst.

16As for me, I will call out to God,

and the Lord will deliver me.

17During the evening, morning, and noontime

I will lament and moan,

and he will hear me.

18He will rescue me and protect me from those who attack me,

even though they greatly outnumber me.

19God, the one who has reigned as king from long ago,

will hear and humiliate them. (Selah)

They refuse to change,

and do not fear God.

20He attacks his friends;

he breaks his solemn promises to them.

21His words are as smooth as butter,

but he harbors animosity in his heart.

His words seem softer than oil,

but they are really like sharp swords.

22Throw your burden upon the Lord,

and he will sustain you.

He will never allow the godly to be upended.

23But you, O God, will bring them down to the deep Pit.

Violent and deceitful people will not live even half a normal lifespan.

But as for me, I trust in you.


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