Psalm 64:1-5 (ESV)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;

preserve my life from dread of the enemy.

[2] Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,

from the throng of evildoers,

[3] who whet their tongues like swords,

who aim bitter words like arrows,

[4] shooting from ambush at the blameless,

shooting at him suddenly and without fear.

[5] They hold fast to their evil purpose;

they talk of laying snares secretly,

thinking, who can see them?

David, in this Psalm, is once again under attack.

What a life David lived! It reads very much like a Robin Hood adventure. He is a child hero who becomes the favourite of the King but when he also becomes the favourite of the people more than the king, the king himself turns on him and seeks to kill him – numerous times.

David rounds up his band of merry men, rogues from across Israel, and goes on the lam. He eventually becomes the king and reigns fairly well. Like most kings he let power go to his head somewhat and had hard lessons to learn about power not excusing sin. His sons fought for his throne and fought against him. His life was adventurous, exciting, threatened, never dull. And many of his inner struggles God inspired him to put into poetry and we have them as the Psalms.

Psalm 64 is such a Psalm. Again, David is under attack. He calls out for God to preserve his life from the dread of the enemy (verse 1), from their plots and from the throng of his enemies (verse 2).

What is it that his enemies are doing? Are they hunting him down like a common criminal? Have they arrested him and are about to lynch him? Is this the final cry of a man about to be beheaded? No. This is a man who is the victim of gossip and lies. Verse 3 tells us that his attackers are using their tongues as weapons against him.

The use of the tongue is never a small matter. It kills and destroys. Nothing could be more untrue than the old children’s rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Words very much hurt. And David is feeling the pain of them.

This is a powerful lesson to us that we must never underestimate the use of our tongues for good or for ill. God warns us against their misuse. And He tells us that He is more than willing to help us when we have become victims of its outrageous assaults. How careful we need to be with our words!! Let us never be the cause of anyone being able to recite this Psalm about the things that we say to them or about them. It is a great wickedness to speak evil to or about others. God could justly condemn us with one utterance but He saves us instead. Let us think how we can use our speech to build people up and not be their ruin because of the way we have spoken about them.