Dealing with betrayal and disappointment (Prayer day 9)

David was a renown warrior, a celebrated king, religious reformer, bright inventor and architect, and an exceptional poet and songwriter.  Yet this successful man suffered the agony caused by betrayal and the loss of friendship.


Psalm 55:1-2,12-22 – A Maskil (instruction) of David.

1  Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!

2  Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan.

12  For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him.

13  But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.

14  We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.

15  Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol [the place for the dead] alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.

16  But I call to God, and the LORD will save me.

17  Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.

18  He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me.

19  God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old because they do not change and do not fear God.

20  My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant.

21  His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.

22  Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Observation and Reflection

Context: This Psalm expresses David’s emotive prayer after Ahithophel (one of David’s most trusted advisors and close friend) abandoned him and joined the rebellion lead by Absalom.

  1. Rephrase David’s plea to God in your own words (v1-2a). What does he ask of God?
  2. David’s soul is in anguish; apart from fear for his life, describe what other emotions lie heavy on his heart in this psalm. [note v12-13, 20-21]
  3. A Maskil is a teaching psalm. What is the main lesson in this Psalm? [hint: v22]
  4. In verses 12-15 and again verses 20-21 David expresses similar emotions about the same person and situation. What does that suggest of (a) our emotions and (b) our prayers?

Personal Reflections and Application

David suffered the pain of betrayal; the sense of loss broke his heart and sent world spinning.  The fact that this Psalm was written during a life-threatening rebellion says much about the primacy of relationships in our human existence: companionship is our life, and relational conflict and pain brings stress and anguish to our soul. The substance of our prayers should be the life in our relationships, rather than the necessities for our daily existence.

  1. Consider your relational life. Note the joys, the concerns, the conflict. Which relationship presses heaviest on your heart?
    • Bluntly tell God about the situation and express your feelings to God. Try to name or describe what you feel.
    • What would you like God to do? Declare your trust in God as David did.
    • Ask what does God want you to do in this situation.

Note: It is wise and sometimes absolutely necessary to talk to a mature Christian friend or counsellor about the personal pain such as betrayal, abandonment and shame caused by failed relationships.

Leaders must grow in the skill to confront in love

Leaders lead, teach and train, and therefore need to confront and correct in love. This is uncomfortable and needs to be done in truth and sensitivity.  Can you grow in this skill?

In this short video Kobus Meyer shares wisdom on how to confront people in a loving and truthful way.


1 Corinthians 1:2-13

2  Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3  Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5  That in every thing you are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7  So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9  God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11  For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12  Now this I say, that every one of you said, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Observation and reflection questions

  1. To whom was this letter written?
  2. Directly after naming the recipients, what does Paul do in this letter? [verse 3]
  3. We learn a lot about the congregation through Paul’s praise of them. What does Paul praise about this congregation?
  4. According to this portion of the letter, what is the reason Paul mentions for writing this letter? [hint: verses 10-13]
  5. In light of this stated purpose let’s re-evaluate the structure in the opening of the letter. Summarize the intent of each of the following portions and state why Paul does it, taking into account the sensitive nature of the letter.
  • Verses 2
  • Verse 3
  • Verses 4-8
  • Verse 9
  • Verse 10-11
  • Verse 12-13
  1. By starting the letter with affirmation, thanks and praise, how does it help in confronting errors within the congregation?
  2. Note Paul’s use of the question in the sensitive topic. What benefits does the use of a question have in confrontation over a statement? (verse 13)

Personal reflection and application

Paul was a skilled communicator who did not shy away from confrontation or conflict, but embraced the use of sincere affirmation, thanks and praise as well as questions aimed at introspection, calling for change.

  1. Why is conflict and confrontation necessary?
  2. How do you feel about confrontation and conflict?
  3. Consider someone you need to confront about something, or someone with whom you have regular conflicts.
  • Reflect and write down what is good and praiseworthy about the person.
  • Consider the pressing issue or last conflict situation. How can you address this matter in a non-confrontational question so that (a) you affirm the value of the person and your relationship and (b) your perspective of the situation?


Pray about your attitude regarding conflict, and ask God that you will be able to speak the truth in love and not fear to stand of for what is right.

The Love of God 1 – rooted and grounded

The aim of this devotional study is to grow in revelation of the immense love of God that stabilizes one amidst hardships.


Ephesians 3:13-21

13  So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

14  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15  from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


Note: Paul starts with the phrase “For this reason” in Chapter 3:1, but interrupts himself, then picks it up in verse 14.  So the “For this reason” refers to the glorious redemption and elevation of the gentiles who were “saved by grace through faith… a gift of God” and therefore both the Jewish and non-Jewish believer were made one.

  1. Study Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians by answering the following questions:
    1. With what attitude does Paul pray?
    2. To whom does Paul pray?
    3. In summary, what are the things Paul pray for this church?
  2. Paul prays to specifically “know the love of Christ, not the “love of God”. What do you understand “the love of Christ” refers to?
  3. Paul prayed this prayer to a racially and culturally divided church; what elements of unity can you see in this prayer. (Look carefully! Don’t miss the obvious!)
    1. How would prayer “to the Father from whom every family is known” help them in their unity?
    2. How would a revelation of the love of Christ help them in their unity?
    3. How would “being filled with the fullness of God” help them in their unity?
  4. This prayer of Paul was prayed during times of mounting persecution (himself imprisoned for the message he writes about!). What parts in this prayer is aimed to help this troubled church during times of persecution?
    1. How would “being rooted and grounded in love” and a greater revelation of Christ’s love help them in their times of persecution?
    2. How would “being strengthened… in the inner man” help them in their times of persecution?
    3. How would “being filled with the fullness of God” help them in their times of persecution?

Application and Prayer

Paul’s prayer for this troubled church (internally divided, with external persecution) is for strength, for faith, and for a revelation of the love of Christ, to grow in their union with Christ and be filled with his godliness.

  1. With whom and in which ways do you presently experience relational conflict in this season?
  2. In which ways do you experience external pressures these days?
  3. Personalize Paul’s prayer in verses 14-19, considering the relational and external challenges in your life.
  4. Note how Paul ends the prayer in praise with such encouragement in verses 20-21. Spend some time in praise to God who “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us!”