Do me a favor and please read Psalm 64.
As I read Psalm 64 I have to admit that the first thing that caught my attention was the ways of these wicked people that were somewhere around David. Simply put, they were plotting evil against him. As for context, which is always extremely important for us to consider, we simply do not have anything to grasp from this text. We don’t know where David is, what point in his life he is at (which would in-turn help us to understand the situation because we’d have markers in his life and surrounding to pull from), or what enemies are surrounding him. So what we’re left with is just David lamenting what is happening (lamenting this to God) and then pronouncing the work God will do against these foes who scheme and plot his downfall.
But what really struck me is that all these laments, all these fears that David has, all the ACTIONS these evil people are doing…are simply words. There is no active hunting and pursuing of David, there is no beating down his door or chasing him out of town. David isn’t needing to hide in the hills or the fields as he fears for his life – because all that is happening is simply rumors. David fears for his life, and probably rightly so – but his fears are based off of words heard in dark spaces from dark people.
- “Hide me from the CONSPIRACY” (vs 2)
- “They sharpen their tongues…aiming cruel WORDS like arrows” (vs 3)
- “They shoot and ambush the innocent” (vs 4) (this is done by their words)
- “They encourage each other in their evil plans…TALKING about plots and snares (vs 5)
- “Plotting injustice” (vs 6)
Where is David’s fear? In the unknown, the rumors, the words spoken, the evil plotted – and the possibility of something happen at some point to him by someone.
To me…the fear that has overcome David is of spoken harm.
One thing we do NOT want to do is miss the fact that these were real fears for him – even crippling fears. Simply because I think that “words should/would not cause me harm” is obviously not where David is. David has lived with constant real fear throughout his whole life. I’m fully aware that while they may seem like simple “words” to me David probably has seen those words and rumors turn their evil voice into action too many times to count. So I cannot belittle his fear. But what I can do, what WE can do, is think about how many times we too were struck with fear, anxiety, pain, or chaos due to the grip fear has on us when WE TOO hear rumors and rumblings in regards to our own safety.
Simply put, words DO hurt; words strike fear; rumors make us anxious and nervous; and the spreading of hate upon us simply grips us and puts us into a state of chaos. Even worse, for me, rumors and people talking about me simply hurts. But where I’m really struck and challenged is that I have been on the other side. I have been the “plotter”. I’ve said things about people, plotted stupid things to pay them back and hurt them for what they have done to me (not physically harming them – but hurt them none-the-less) and so as I write this I’m quite simply put to shame.
I want to write about excuses and simply have you understand why I said the things about them that I did, why I wanted to do what I WANTED to do but those words are hollow because all I would be trying to do is sway you to understand my perspective. All I’d really be trying to do is justify my words and actions – but there is no justification for them. I sought the harm of someone else. It doesn’t matter if they tried to harm me first or said something first…I’m simply held accountable for my own words, thoughts, and actions.
Matthew 12:36 states that we all will have to give an account on the Day of Judgment for all the empty words spoken. This also means that we will give an account of the harm spoken too. Do I need more reminders? Romans 14:12 is a good one too. As are 1 Thess 5:11; Prov 27:17; and Jeremiah 17:10 (which these last 3 give us kind of the opposite view and the way we SHOULD act)
The ending of this psalm, to me is the arrow that David speaks of as that arrow pierces my heart too because the truth is still the truth. God will NOT allow these things to happen. These words, actions, plotting, evilness, and hatred will not and is not part of his eternal kingdom – nor will the people that do find themselves there. I’m thankful for the redemption, forgiveness, and grace of God that even my words and actions will ultimately not keep me from that eternal joy because Christ’s work is greater than mine – and I thank God that he knows my real heart and desires and that when caught up in the moment those moments are not our real personalities…but we still are held to a higher standard – and God will still hold us in conversation about those things we do when we stand before him in judgment.
I’m thankful that God’s arrows of love and grace are stronger and pierce deeper into us than our plots against each other. As with many other psalms I find myself thankful that God’s work overshadows the pain and harm we often cause each other – even when they are simply “words”.