Deliver Me

Psalm 56: 1-2, 5       NLT

O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. They are always twisting what I say; they spend their days plotting to harm me. They come together to spy on me – watching my every step, eager to kill me.

I feel David’s anguish in this passage, do you? As he fled from town to town, he never knew whether he would find friend or foe. Worst yet, some of those he thought to be friends, betrayed him to Saul. Maybe you can relate to David’s angst. Perhaps you feel attacked by a co-worker or betrayed by a friend. Chances are they twist your words too. They may re-characterize what you meant for good into an evil plan. You are frustrated, angry, forlorn and you wonder where you can turn for relief. David had the same problem; pressure and stress on every side, where to turn?

David is an iconic example of a person who learned to run away and hide in the refuge of the Lord. He made it a real thing, not just a lofty idea. He sang frequently of God his refuge in his songs. One of those uses is in Psalm 7: 1 where David wrote, “O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge; save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me.” The same idea, if not language, recurs in today’s psalm. It is an anthem to every person who has ever felt attacked, wrongly accused, or slandered.

How did David hide himself away in God when he, like us, has to live in the physical world? Still, to David, this wasn’t poetry, it was survival. When you are spiritually so in the Father, you are less bothered by the problems of the physical but there is more to it than that. Do you remember the time when David was hiding in a cave and Saul went into that very cave to relieve himself (1 Samuel 24: 3)? How is it that Saul didn’t find David? That is where hiding yourself in the refuge of God comes in to play. God may have hidden David behind a shroud. He may have blinded Saul to David’s presence. Maybe God sent angels to form a barricade between them. We don’t know how God does it but He has power which is applicable in this physical world. His spiritual power trumps the physical realm. Therefore, taking your refuge in Him can, and does, have physical world implications. He will confound your enemies. He will bless you in their presence.

Don’t discount the spiritual realm. It is actually more powerful than the physical realm and God can make physical things happen with His spiritual power. It is how He made the earth after all. Get your mind focused on God and His ability to care for you. See yourself ensconced in the fortress that is God. Picture thousands of angels all about your castle and the Holy Spirit presiding over the entire estate. You are safe in the hands of God. Your enemies will pay for their attack. Those who have disparaged you will eat the fruit of their mouths and you will be vindicated. Just pray to the Father, hide yourself in Him and keep your mouth from sinning. You will carry the day.

Ouch!!

Psalm 15: 1 – 5                    Passion Translation

Lord, who dares to dwell with you?
Who presumes the privilege of being close to you,
living next to you in your shining place of glory?
Who are those who daily dwell in the life of the Holy Spirit?

2 They are passionate and wholehearted,
always sincere and always speaking the truth—
for their hearts are trustworthy.

3 They refuse to slander or insult others;
they’ll never listen to gossip or rumors,
nor would they ever harm another with their words.

4 They will speak out passionately against evil and evil workers
while commending the faithful ones who follow after the truth.
They make firm commitments and follow through,
even at great cost.

5 They never crush others with exploitation or abuse
and they would never be bought with a bribe
against the innocent.
They will never be shaken; they will stand firm forever.

The NASB version begins, “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?” Then David goes on to answer the question. I have another answer, “Not me.” Though I clearly fail this test, it inspires me. David certainly had a clear standard for what is required to live with the Holy One. I particularly dislike verse three for I found I have not yet bridled my tongue. How about you? Don’t many of us trip up over that one?

There is only one caveat I would make to David’s song. While I strongly agree with speaking out passionately against evil, I do think there is a New Testament augmentation to speaking out against evil workers. The reason I say this is because, in a sense, there is no longer a chosen class and a gentile class. All have the ability to be adopted into the family now and our task is to pray for those who persecute us. I find this to be the most challenging part of the passage because although we are idealists, we are also called to be compassionate messengers of the Good News. You might have to ponder this a bit. See where you land. Personally, I get uncomfortable pointing my finger at “evil workers” or “sinners” because I am so aware of how I trample the ideals articulated in this song.

My prayer is that we might all aspire to live this life and that we pray for each other as we reach for higher ground. Moreover, it is my desire that we learn how to lift people up to the beauty that is Jesus rather than wallow around in the mire like so many mud wrestlers. Lifting our eyes up to Jesus, may we each reach a little bit beyond yesterday.

Forlorn, Weeping and Mourning

Psalm 35: 11 – 16            NIV

Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother, I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother. But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee; attackers gather against me when I was unaware. They slandered me without ceasing. Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked; they gnashed their teeth at me.

David wrote this psalm from his soul. His anguish is evident. Although we don’t have King Saul hunting us down and trying to kill us at every turn, none the less, I feel confident that most of us have experience with the emotions and thoughts David was experiencing.

David loved Saul. He served him faithfully. What was his reward? Jealousy, suspicion and unwarranted aggression. Can you relate to that? The very person you spend your blood and breath praying for is the one who hurls the javelin at you. When they are sick, when they are hurting, you put on your sackcloth and pray in earnest, even in deep travail for them. You pour out your soul to God on their behalf and then at the first opportunity they plot your demise. It just does not seem right, does it? Sometimes the people that you help the most turn on you. Notice also that these people who repay our good with evil are not the ungodly. David writes that they act like the ungodly. They are likely the people who know better.

These people, these accusers do not tell the truth either. We know that because David called them slanderers. People will lie about you, will frame things in a less than favorable light in order to misconstrue and to give others a wrong impression of you. They are masters at deception and will easily lead others astray so that the naïve will believe their rhetoric although it is all false.

It will take three installments of the Word of the Day to go through the 35th Psalm and see how David dealt with this issue. I think it is worth the time to follow David through this experience. Hopefully by the end you will have a new revelation on this situation. At the very least you will know that you are not alone and will likely feel akin to David.

Grieve Not

Ephesians 4: 30 – 31

30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.


One thing I would never want to do is to grieve the Holy Spirit of God. That drums up a truly horrid image. Fortunately for me and everyone else, Paul proceeds to tell us how we can avoid doing so. We are to make bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice completely foreign to our way of living. That means that we are to have no ill will (malice) toward anyone, nor speak of others in a way that will damage their reputation in the eyes of others (slander). We are to put anger away from us. That is no surprise but sometimes we allow ourselves the luxury of anger. If you do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, then you should quickly put the anger away from you and move into forgiveness. Bitterness is defined as: sharp and disagreeable; harsh; severe; piercing. 2) Characterized by strong feelings of hatred, resentment, cynicism. You have known people who are sharp with others. That is not the attitude God wants us to show to others nor are we to be cynical. Taking verses 29 through 32 together, there is a picture revealed to us of the Christian walk.  If it were to be summarized we might say guard our mouths only letting those words come out that are edifying and uplifting and be kind to everyone in word and deed. In this way we will be pleasing to the Lord God and not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.