Psalms 64 Devotions
by Pastor Mark Hudson
As even a casual reader of this Psalms will notice, the subject matter changes in v. 7 from describing the evil in 1-6 to verse 7 beginning with “But God.” The Psalm can be organized with 1-6 as the insidious attack and 7-10 exemplary punishment (Kidner). Let’s look more closely at verses 1-6. We see once again the author does not hesitate to ask God to listen to his complaint. He considers that his life is in danger. There are a few observations to notice. One is he does not back away from saying he is complaining to God. He begins, “Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint” so this is a valid way to address God. But this is a friendly complaint. There is honesty here but the Psalmist knows God will hear and wants to hear his complaint. I want to be more honest to and with God. But when I complain I hope my complaint is a respectful, humble complaint.
The other observation is something we see in the Psalms often – there are enemies. I’m not sure we talk like this. I suppose self-righteousness can sneak in when we talk like that but that does not deter the Psalmist. He asks God to “Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers, who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows. . .” So much of our sin involves our mouth, our tongue, and our words.
In v. 4, the wicked shoot their bitter words “at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear.” They do all this thinking they can get away with it, “thinking, Who will see them?” The wicked think they will continue to get away with their brazen sin and for a while, they will continue to do wrong and are intent on evil.
But God. We ought to remember this phrase that we find in Scripture. Whatever you might say about your plans, your intentions, your ideas, remember “But God” as you make plans. In vs. 4-5 the wicked shoot arrows of bitter words at the blameless. Now in v. 7, “But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly.” The wicked have arrows; God has one arrow. He does not miss. “They [the wicked] are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned agains them; all who see will wag their heads.” The wicked are scheming and planning in verses 2-6; in verses 7-8, one arrow and they are brought to ruin. How quickly God can judge and bring the wicked down.
The wagging of the head could be in derision (Jer 48:27) or shocked concern (Jer18:16).
Does this point to the abrupt judgment that surprises people? Notice that God turns their tongues against them. Be careful how you use your tongue. In v. 9, “all mankind fears” because of what God has done in contrast to the wicked in v. 4 who are “without fear.” Mankind tells what God has done in v. 4 while the wicked in vs. 2ff shoot bitter words at the blameless and act like no one sees them.
In v. 10, the upright rejoices in contrast to how the author hides in v. 2. He is hiding, asking God to preserve his life in vs. 1, 2. In v. 10 the author is taking refuge in God. The upright in heart exult while the wicked plot v 2; hold fast to their evil purpose in v. 5, and think in v.6 that they do this without God’s knowledge.
Our Lord had enemies who tried to kill him as a young child and all through his life until his death on the cross. He is our example. Jesus did verbal battle against the throng of evildoers but He defeated them on the cross and His resurrection.
Father, I need your protection from my (Your?) enemies. At times, they can seem big to me when I take my eyes off you. Help me never to take matters into my own hands but to wait for the “But God” in my life. Remind me that it may not be as bad as I worry it is. Whatever worry or concern I have may You help me to rejoice in the Lord. While you are often seem slow (from my perspective), your judgment is swift and powerful. In Christ’s name, Amen.