“When words are made as sharp as possible by wit and malice, they have a frightful keenness of penetration,” William S. Plumer, Studies in the Book of Psalms.
Everyone knows the playground rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Unfortunately, as even a child knows, words are not the problem. The problem is the tongue behind the words, and the heart behind the tongue. With carefully chosen words reputations can be damaged, relationships broken, and hearts embittered. The damage caused by the skillful use of the tongue can endure through generations.
“…who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow, to shoot from concealment at the blameless; suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear,” (Psalm 64:3–4).
In this psalm we see, once again, that God is for those who rely, not on their own schemes to prevail, but rather, on their faith that the Lord will be their defender. For there are those who seek our destruction. There are those who set themselves up as our enemy devising and executing plans to bring about our ruin. They may even be convinced of the righteousness of their cause. Here in this song, David models a God honoring response, which is simply pray and trust. The battle is God’s to wage.
“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, from the tumult of those who do iniquity,” (Psalm 64:1–2).
When facing the threat of those who seek to harm us, our prayer needs to be “Hear my voice”, “Preserve my life”, and “Hide me from evil.” Then, we are to trust that God will do what He has promised–that He will instill fear into the hearts of men. This may not happen when we want it to, or when we think it should. We must trust Him in that, as well. In this, God will be glorified–when His people are content to find refuge in Him.
“Then all men will fear, and they will declare the work of God, and will consider what He has done. The righteous man will be glad in the Lord and will take refuge in Him; and all the upright in heart will glory.” (Psalm 64:9–10).