If you are looking for a dose of reality, then immerse yourself in the 55th Psalm. David is in anguish, confronted with the “terrors of death” (v. 4) and filled with “fear and trembling . . . for [he] see[s] violence and strife in the city. Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it. Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets” (vv. 5, 9–11). It is in such a world that even friends betray their companions. Here is the bad news: David is describing a world that has abandoned God, and so men have reverted to their natural state of godless corruption.
This is the very same world that Jesus entered on a cold night in the small town of Bethlehem. Soon the kings of the earth and their agents would set out to destroy this child, and eventually they would crucify Him outside the walls of Jerusalem.
But little did any of them know that this one death would set a multitude free. We cannot understand this saving act until we come to understand what we have been saved from. David paints a vivid picture of what the world looks like absent of God. It is a world in desperate need of God’s saving grace.
-Eric Kampmann, Signposts