In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Senator Cassius conspires to have Caesar killed and even gets his brother-in-law Brutus to join the assassination plot. As planned, on the Ides of March all the conspirators attack Caesar. Because he trusted Brutus, the Roman leader is most distressed by his participation. Caesar dies brokenhearted at the betrayal, crying, “Et tu, Brute?” (Even you, Brutus?)

The Bible describes a similar betrayal when David’s son Absalom conspired to usurp his throne, forcing him to flee (2 Samuel 15:13-16). Absalom had even convinced David’s most trusted adviser Ahithophel to support the rebellion (2 Samuel 15:31). Many believe that Psalm 41:9, which describes a betrayal by David’s “best friend, [who he] trusted completely,” is referring to Ahithophel. Surely David could echo Caesar’s infamous words. Et tu, Ahithophel?

Betrayal is a weapon wielded by friends. An enemy has no such power. As novelist Suzanne Collins puts it, “For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.” This is why betrayal is always so devastatingly painful: You are the deliberate target of one you love.

David wished he “had wings like a dove . . . [to] fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness,” perhaps to still his raging emotions of grief and anger (Psalm 55:6-7). Instead, he turned to God for help, entrusting himself into His hands. “I will call on God. . . . [He] keeps me safe from the battle waged against me” (Psalm 55:16-18).

As we cope with the aftermath of disloyalty or betrayal, may we remember David’s encouragement to “give [our] burdens to the LORD” knowing that “he will take care of [us]” (Psalm 55:22). Let’s fall into the loving arms of God, to the place of quiet refuge.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 11:1-30