“My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.” (Reference: Psalm 55:19-21 )
“This one who was once my friend now attacks his friends.
He is breaking every promise he made.
His words about peace are as smooth as butter,
but he has only war on his mind.
His words are as slick as oil,
but they cut like a knife.” Verses 20-21 Easy To Read Version
I will occasionally consult other translations in order to get a better understanding of some verses. One of my favorites – because the simple and basic way the discerned meaning is stated – is the Easy-To-Read Version. Another is The Message. I was searching for the subject of the psalmist’s rant – who betrayed him and others. The proceeding verses showed it was a former companion, and my curiosity was satisfied. It was the Easy-to-Read Version that helped me along my way.
The historic Anabaptists knew what it was like to have friends and family turn against them. This new way of believing and living, the “again Baptizers”, went against much of what had been religious and civil traditions. There were disruptors at the very least, and heretics at the worst. They were not allowed to spread their “lies” and in severe cases not allowed to live. And yet the historic Anabaptists were not deterred. In fact they became more determined, but more watchful. The following is the excerpt attached to this passage of verses.
“Dear friends, let us always seek the face of the Lord with humility, and take good heed
to our vocation, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. . . . For David says:
“Violence and strife are in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the walls
thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. Wickedness is in the midst
thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.” Ps. 55:9-11. And, as the prophet
says: “They fear not God; for they lay their hands on his peaceable ones, and break his
covenant,” verses 19, 20. “Their mouth,” as David says, “is smoother than butter, but
they have war in their hearts: their words were softer than oil, yet are they drawn
swords.” Hence, O dearly beloved friends, let us always watch circumspectly in the
spirit, and fear our God from the heart, and cleave to Him with prayer and supplication.
. . . Thus, dear friends when you are distressed, call upon the Lord . . . remember,
that according to Paul’s words we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom
of God. . . . I Maerten van der Straten, and Beliken van der Straten, my love, have
written this little out of affection . . . We also request the aid of your prayers.”
I can imagine the two of them composing this together by candle light, hoping and praying their message would get through to friends of family. Take a moment, beloved, to remember all of those who suffered for their faith. And then ask God to make you just as strong! Selah!