For the director of music. A psalm of David.
Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
from the plots of evildoers.
They sharpen their tongues like swords
and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
they shoot suddenly, without fear.
They encourage each other in evil plans,
they talk about hiding their snares;
they say, ‘Who will see it?’
They plot injustice and say,
‘We have devised a perfect plan!’
Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.
But God will shoot them with his arrows;
they will suddenly be struck down.
He will turn their own tongues against them
and bring them to ruin;
all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
All people will fear;
they will proclaim the works of God
and ponder what he has done.
The righteous will rejoice in the Lord(Ps. 64:1-10 NIV)
and take refuge in him;
all the upright in heart will glory in him!
We are now familiar with most of the metaphors that the Psalmist uses. The presence of the Lord is something that seems elusive. The Psalmist never takes it for granted that his prayer is going to be heard, let alone heeded. God is the God of the covenant, and in that covenant, God has promised to protect His people. Yet the Psalmist as a member of the covenant does not have a sense of entitlement. The Psalmist does not claim that protection is his right because he is a covenant member. God of the covenant had promised blessings for those who are obedient and curses for those who disobey or break the covenant. The Psalmist, like every other human being, has sin in his life, so he is never worthy to receive blessing. He recognises that God is sovereign, that God knows all things, hence he comes with a sense of pleading. The enemy presents a clear and present threat and, humanly speaking, has the power, position and strength to overcome the Psalmist. On his own the Psalmist is no match for the enemy. He knows that the Lord has the power to preserve His life.
The enemy is not a single person but a group of people who are combining their wits in an evil conspiracy. They broadcast their evil intentions. C S Lewis’s ‘That Hideous Strength’ describes how an evil group of people plot to control society. His book was written in the first half of the twentieth century, but it is such an accurate description of the politically correct lobby of today that has shut down free speech, and by stealth have changed the law to oppose the Kingdom of God. The enemy of God’s Kingdom is alive and active in our society today.
The Psalmist asks to be hidden from the conspiracy of the wicked. In one way the enemy today does not want the Christian speaking out about their views, but in another way the Christian is questioned on their views to see if they conform to the modern accepted viewpoint.
The deadly effect of words or the use of the tongue can be seen from them being likened to swords or deadly arrows. Both the sword and the arrows pierce and inflict deadly wounds. While the Psalmist is occupied by his daily work, the enemy are hiding in the shadows waiting to ambush him. He has not done anything to warrant this treatment. They dislike the Psalmist, they are perhaps jealous of his position, perhaps upset that he doesn’t throw in his lot with them. Whatever the reason for hatred, which is unknown to the Psalmist, they launch their attack. He is unaware of any reason for the attack, so there is always an element of surprise. They attack without fear, seemingly oblivious that they will one day have to give an account to God for their behaviour and words. The enemy feed off each other as they compose their plot. What would be the best way to say it, when would be the best time to launch it, how could we ensure the appropriate audience for maximum effect? They don’t intend to be open about what they do. They will carry on as an innocent, or even as a righteous person. They congratulate themselves on their scheming. ‘Who will see or understand the real motive behind what we do?’ they ask. They would do their damage and escape any blame. Smugly they admire their cunning and perfect plan. They rejoice at the creativity of their heart and mind at plotting the downfall of the Psalmist.
If their words are like arrows, then God who is yet to speak has some very large arrows that will suddenly take the enemy unawares. The words that they speak will become their own trap. Spitefulness is like an addiction; it needs to be satisfied. The enemy are never satisfied, they have to plot one more trap, something more daring than the last time, and then eventually they fall into their own trap. Once found out, then they are ruined, they are discredited, no one will ever pay any attention to what they say. They are branded as spiteful people, and people just shake their heads and dismiss them and say they are up to their old tricks again.
It is a dangerous thing to attack God’s kingdom or His people.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones– those who believe in me– to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!(Matt. 18:6-7 NIV)
When God brings His judgement upon the enemy, everyone will see and they will learn to fear the Lord. That God has intervened in this incident causes the people to reflect on all the interventions that the Lord has made. This takes their thoughts to the mighty acts of redemption. The Lord is bringing in His kingdom and how pointless it is to oppose it.
As we reflect on the work of God in salvation, we put behind us the petty bickering, plots and schemes of the enemy and we rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him. We can turn our attention to the Lord and rejoice and praise His great name.
Lord God, we thank You that we can take refuge in You. Help us to grow strong in the Lord that we will have the fortitude to withstand the attacks of those who seek to tear down the work of the kingdom of God. Give us wisdom to follow the example of the Psalmist and make haste to come before You in prayer. Help us to focus our thoughts on the magnitude of the Kingdom of God and the plan of redemption, so that we can place in context the fleeting nature of any opposition to Your work. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.