Today’s readings are Exodus 16, Job 34, and Psalm 64.
This devotional is about Psalm 64.
David had a lot of enemies. Saul was his enemy, the Philistines and other pagan nations were his enemies, even some his own sons became his enemies. In all these cases, these enemies battled him physically and their goal was to kill him.
Here in Psalm 64, David speaks of his enemy (v. 1) but the weapon that he feared was not a literal weapon but the warfare of words. Look at how frequently words come up in this psalm:
- v. 2: “conspiracy” and “plots” are formed in conversation using words.
- v. 3a: “They sharpen their tongues like swords”
- v. 3b: they “aim cruel words like deadly arrows.”
- v. 5: “They encourage each other in evil plans... they talk.... they say....”
- v. 6: “they plot injustice and say....”
Words are not as dangerous as swords or guns or other instruments of war. But they are dangerous in their own way. People use words to overthrow rulers, to damage reputations, to wound emotions, to separate friends, to end careers, to create problems in families, and more.
David was confident that God would win anyway, despite the words of evildoers. In verse 7, he envisioned God riding in like the cavalry to save the day. In verse 8, he was more specific about how God would save him, “He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin.” We can use words to cause a lot of damage to others but, if you do that enough, eventually people will figure you out. They won’t trust what you say and won’t even want to listen to what you say. In the end, “all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.”
A better way for us to use words is described in verse 9: people “will proclaim the works of God.”
Are you careful about the words you use when talking with others or to others? The Bible commands us to watch what we say because we love God; this passage also tells us that our words will eventually catch up with us and be our undoing. If you have a problem with destructive, uncontrolled speech, ask God for help and memorize some verses from his Word about the power of speech.
If you’ve been the victim of someone else’s destructive speech, let verse 10 give you comfort and hope: “The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!” God knows if you’ve been unjustly and unkindly wounded by the words of others. Trust him to come to your aid and vindicate you.