Lord, You are my rock, my shelter and my fortress.
Read PSALM 140
1 Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers;
protect me from the violent,
2 who devise evil plans in their hearts
and stir up war every day.
3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s;
the poison of vipers is on their lips.
4 Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent,
who devise ways to trip my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a snare for me;
they have spread out the cords of their net
and have set traps for me along my path.
6 I say to the Lord, “You are my God.”
Hear, Lord, my cry for mercy.
7 Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer,
you shield my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant the wicked their desires, Lord;
do not let their plans succeed.
9 Those who surround me proudly rear their heads;
may the mischief of their lips engulf them.
10 May burning coals fall on them;
may they be thrown into the fire,
into miry pits, never to rise.
11 May slanderers not be established in the land;
may disaster hunt down the violent.
12 I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor
and upholds the cause of the needy.
13 Surely the righteous will praise your name,
and the upright will live in your presence.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Heaven helps those who cannot help themselves. Are you helpless enough to cry for help?
This personal lament sets down in poignant poetry the anguish of the man of God beset by wicked enemies on every side. Unlike Psalm 3, which addresses Absalom’s rebellion, we do not know the specific occasion behind this heart cry, but the sentiments are practically the same. His enemies are numerous, treacherous and powerful; David’s sole recourse is to the Lord. Fortunately, he knows this God as the God of his salvation. He does not approach as one who deserves to be heard but rather with a plea for mercy. However, he approaches with the confidence of past experience, because he has known God’s deliverance previously (7).
Quite understandably, the prayer centers on the need to be saved from these enemies. As is very often the case in the psalms, however, it does not stop there. David goes on to implore God to requite their wickedness with gruesome violence and decisive finality (10). Old Testament saints did not have the teaching or the example of the Lord Jesus Christ like we do: this psalmist lived under the law of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Lev. 24:20). This is not to say that the God of the New Testament is different from the God of the Old. Progressive revelation causes our understanding of his character to grow continually.
God cannot compromise his holiness by failing to deal appropriately with the unrepentant, but he does show mercy to the repentant. Such is how the psalm concludes. It is on this basis that his people rejoice in knowing that their cries are heard, both then and now.
What are the factors that make us hesitant to cry to God for help? We can cry for help for those too!
Lord, keep me from those who desire my downfall, whether they be humans or spirits. My trust is in You.