Thursday, May 20, 2010

As you know I'm preaching through the book of Psalms and last night I taught on Psalm 64. The psalm marvelously reveals David's (prayerful) response to his enemies who secretly plot verbal attacks against him. David proffers a fitting model for us to glean from when the time comes and we're viciously attacked—verbally, slanderously, maliciously.

I divided the psalm with a four-fold structure and I incorporated in my outline an acronym for P-R-A-Y.

I. P—Petition God's Ear (1-2)

In this section David cries to God with three staccato-like, concise, terse shouts to God:
1. Hear me (1a)
2. Preserve me (1b)
3. Hide me (2)
Amazingly, this section is not just asking God to actually 'hear' his prayer. David knows God will actually 'listen' to his prayer. What David is praying for is for God to act and not be inactive. He wants God to get up and respond to his request! What a good model for us to pray this way. There are times in our lives when we are slandered when we just need to come to God and be honest, open and, can I say "emotional", before God.

II. R—Recognize Your Situation (3-6)

In these verses David relays his situation to God. Oh yes God knows the situation. God knows it better than David himself knows it. Yet it glorifies God when David presents it all at His feet. And, it relieves David to remind himself that he's giving it all up to God. Be specific. Note how David speaks of the malicious, slanderous, cunning, plotting, secretive, vicious, and devious intentions of the wicked men. Bring it to God in prayer! Tell God what's going on in your life. Be specific! Be bold! Be frank! Be open and outright honest with God! He knows your heart and your life and your situations anyway!

Indeed, David concludes in v.6b, the inward thought and the heart of man are deep (cf. Jer 17:9; cp. Prov 22:14; 23:27). There is no 'fear of God' before them (v.4b). A 'lack of fear' is the ultimate characteristic of the wicked. Ironically, those who should fear God the most are those who do not fear God at all. Don't let this be you.

III. A—Affirm Your Trust (7-9)

Here David wonderfully recounts his unswerving and unwavering confidence in God's intercession on his behalf. Note how the enemies want to shoot their arrows (v.4) yet here in v.7a it reads: "but God will shoot at them with an arrow." I love how God only has one arrow; and he only needs one arrow for He never misses the bulls-eye of the wicked man's heart. God, here, intercedes and will judge David's enemies. So, David's response is a confident trust in God. This is how we should respond when we are slandered. Don't take revenge. Don't retaliate. Don't be vengeful. Rather, trust God and know He will (perfectly, wisely, and righteously) judge your (and His!) enemies.

IV. Y—Yield Your Worship (10)

The final verse of the psalm reveals David's commitment to worship God. After all, if David trusts God to destroy and judge the wicked, and if David doesn't need to take matters into his own hands (he could, he's the king!), then he knows he should yield his heartfelt worship to God! He does this in three specific ways:
1. Be glad (=rejoice!)
2. Take refuge
3. Be Praising (NASB: "glory"—the Hebrew word is praise [Hallel, הלל)

So then, when you're slandered, learn from this P-R-A-Y acronym and don't retaliate but give it up to God (all of it!), trust in God, and worship God. It's a good reminder and one that you will need to bear in mind in the near future when slanderous accusers talk behind your back. Get ready. How will you respond?
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