What Does Psalm 55:6 Mean?

I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.

Psalm 55:6(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

David is the author of Psalm 55, and he bemoans the shocking fact that his own familiar friend, whom he loved and trusted, betrayed him. A trusted companion, with whom David had enjoyed hours of sweet fellowship turned on him and was unimaginably disloyal. David and his bosom companion had spent much time together, in one another's company. They had communed together, fellowshiped together, and walked together in the house of God. No wonder David's heart was in such anguish.

It was not simply a difference of opinion that cause these two friends to go their separate ways. It was not life's circumstances that had caused them to be detached from the close bond that had anchored them together in spirit. This was not a parting of the ways, due to the ebb and flow of life, that so often happens when circumstances dictate that two kindred spirits are separated from one another. 

This was a deliberate, premeditated betrayal of a trusted friend, that caused David to cry out, "My heart is in anguish within me. The terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling has come upon me. Horror has overwhelmed me." It is no surprise that David cried out in great dismay and deep distress, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest."

This man of God longed that he could escape the terrible situation and distressing betrayal of his beloved friend. So shocking was this soul-mate's disloyalty that David would have fled to the desert to find solace. I wonder if David's thoughts travelled back to the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel, when God provided the comfort and strength his forefathers needed, as they trudged around the desert for 40 years.

I wonder if his thoughts travelled back to the ark of Noah, after the grueling experience of the flood, when a little dove was released through the window of the ark and was the only bird that brought comfort and hope back to Noah and his family, as they waited for the waters of judgement to subside. Perhaps David's mind retreated to the sacrificial offering of two turtledoves that Israel was commanded to perform, on certain high days and holy days. 

I wonder if David considered the dove as a symbol of peace, as he reflected on the Spirit of God, Who brooded over the dark waters, in the beginning, and brought order out of chaos... as God spoke the world into being and sustained His creation by the might of His power. I wonder if David had an understanding that the dove would become the most familiar symbol of God's sustaining power, grace, and comfort in the body of Christ.. or if at that moment he simply saw a little dove, fluttering into his courtyard.

I wonder if David knew that the Psalm that he was writing was Messianic. I wonder if he knew it was a signpost that points us to Jesus, and His familiar friend and beloved disciple - Judas Iscariot, who would betray the Lord of Glory for thirty pieces of silver. I wonder if David knew that the Psalm he was writing in his deep distress would be a peculiar pointer to great David's greater Son - God's Anointed Saviour, Who would be despised and rejected of men - a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief - so that the fallen race of man could be redeemed by faith.

David wanted to run away from the dire circumstances that caused such deep despair. He wanted to flee far from the person who had caused him such anguish of heart. He wanted the horrors of life that surrounded him, at that time, to be removed far away... but David had to learn that you can't run away from the circumstances of life, you can't escape from those that would do you harm, you can't live in this world and be free from trials and tribulations, you can't fly away to a deserted place and be at rest, for we live in a fallen world, we inhabit a fallen body and we live among a fallen race of fallen creatures.

No! The only place to run is into the arms of Jesus. The only escape is to be positioned in Christ, by faith, and empowered by His Holy Spirit. The only way to be at rest is to abide in Christ and to have Him abiding in us, every moment of the day - as we walk in spirit and truth, as we trust in the Lord with all our heart, as we keep self nailed to the cross, and as we die to self and live for Him.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the many things there are for me to learn from King David's desire to fly away from his problems, in order to find rest for his soul. How easy it is to wish to be free from the trials and tribulations in life, and how important to understand that the only rest for our soul is to be positioned in Christ and guided and comforted by His Holy Spirit. Thank You that by faith in Him I have rest for my soul, even though I may be surrounded by those that hate me and immersed in a world at enmity with God. Thank You for all that Jesus has done for me - bearing the rejection of His people, the denial of His disciples, and the betrayal of His trusted friend. Thank You that He died for me and rose again so that I may have forgiveness of my sin and receive newness of life, in Your everlasting kingdom. Thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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Psalm 55:6 Further Study

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