Sticks and Stones

OPENING PRAYER

God, may I be well-taught by Your Word today.

 

Read: PSALM 59

[1] For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam. When Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him. Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. [2] Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood. [3] See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, LORD. [4] I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight! [5] You, LORD God Almighty, you who are the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors. [6] They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. [7]See what they spew from their mouths- the words from their lips are sharp as swords, and they think, “Who can hear us?” [8] But you laugh at them, LORD; you scoff at all those nations. [9] You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, [10] my God on whom I can rely. God will go before me and will let me gloat over those who slander me. [11] But do not kill them, Lord our shield, or my people will forget. In your might uproot them and bring them down. [12] For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride. For the curses and lies they utter, [13]consume them in your wrath, consume them till they are no more. Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. [14] They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city. [15] They wander about for food and howl if not satisfied. [16] But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. [17] You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.

 

Reflect: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON THE RECEIVING END OF GOSSIP, LIES—OR WORSE? HOW DID YOU FEEL? AND HOW DID YOU REACT?

One of the things I love about the psalms is that they are gut-wrenchingly realistic. This psalm certainly doesn’t pull its punches. Twice in the psalm David’s enemies are described as snarling dogs, prowling round the city.

More specifically they are described as spewing out “swords from their lips,” and in many other places they are described as slanderers and liars. See how many references you can find to their evil talk.

How does God respond to this? David is quite confident: he laughs and scoffs at them. And how should those on the receiving end of such treatment react? We’re to use our voices for a different purpose. We are to praise our God, and to “sing of Your strength.”

The psalm begins with a cry for help. But in the middle and at the end we find repeated words of beautiful, confident praise. It reminds us that, even when we’re under pressure, words of praise and worship can still bubble out.

 

APPLY

Christians around the world are under threat of terrible persecution. Reread this psalm from their perspective.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

God, I pray for my brothers’ and sisters’ protection around the world, that they too may sing Your praise.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider