Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.
2 Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:
3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:
4 That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.
5 They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them?
6 They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.
7 But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.
8 So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.
9 And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.
10 The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
Public Domain KJV text from Wordproject.org
There is something reassuring about the Psalms in which the author (in this case, David) cries out to God about life’s trials and tribulations. All of us, including David, have found ourselves under attack by someone else at one point or another. In most cases, that attack is verbal rather than physical. Contrary to what we may have told ourselves and others as children when under verbal attack, words can hurt us as deeply as sticks and stones can—and we have the emotional scars to prove it. But the author of this psalm wouldn’t have cried to God for deliverance from verbal attacks if he didn’t believe that God could stop the attacks and heal the scars. Do you believe this too?
Yet there is also something disturbing about these Psalms because an honest self-assessment reveals that perhaps I have been the verbal attacker that someone has prayed to be delivered from. How can I live my life in such a way that I won’t be the subject of someone else’s prayer for deliverance? Perhaps it starts with asking God to deliver me from myself.
Professor and chair, Chemistry Department, Southern Adventist University, Tennessee USA (as of this writing)