Read Psalm 64
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
from the plots of evildoers.
3 They sharpen their tongues like swords
and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
they shoot suddenly, without fear.
5 They encourage each other in evil plans,
they talk about hiding their snares;
they say, “Who will see it?”
6 They plot injustice and say,
“We have devised a perfect plan!”
Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.
7 But God will shoot them with his arrows;
they will suddenly be struck down.
8 He will turn their own tongues against them
and bring them to ruin;
all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
9 All people will fear;
they will proclaim the works of God
and ponder what he has done.
10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
and take refuge in him;
all the upright in heart will glory in him!
This psalm is referencing David’s enemies, persecutors and slanderers who gave him a great deal of trouble. We have all heard the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” David would certainly disagree with this trite adage. We would be wise to lean into Psalm 64 and learn from David as he pleads to God for protection from evildoers. The Scripture tells us that these evildoers sharpen their tongues like swords and aim bitter words like arrows (v. 3) and talk of laying snares secretly (v. 5). Arrows and swords are used to kill. He certainly experienced the crushing blow of venomous tongues and fear threatening to overtake him. David voices such angst that his enemies openly boasted of “who will discover us”? David faithfully brings his petitions to God knowing Him to be his defender over and over again.
Does this sound like a familiar narrative today? We live in an age of social media where we feel safe behind screens to voice our opinions with little or no accountability. We weigh in on everything often without using the filter of the Holy Spirit to guide us. Many times we wound with words and think it is our right to do so. The tongue has incredible power; it can bring blessings or curses and can be difficult to control.
Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we have power over the tongue. James 3:5 says “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. See how great a forest fire is set aflame by such a small fire.” Today, let’s be determined to use the incredible power of our words to boast only in our Savior who empowers us to speak words of life, healing and hope. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” and Luke 6:45 declares “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
- How do you most often use your words/voice? To build up or tear down?
- Have you been wounded by the words of someone, and have you come to a place of surrendering this to your Savior for healing?
- Is there someone you need to apologize to ask for forgiveness for using careless words that pierced someone? What kind of words do you speak to those closest to you?
Try using this helpful acronym next time you feel tempted to speak too quickly:
Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?