1 Lord, I have so many enemies!
So many are standing against me.
2 So many are talking about me:
“Even God won’t help him.”
3 But you, Lord, are my shield!
You are my glory!
You are the one who restores me.
4 I cry out loud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
5 I lie down, sleep, and wake up
because the Lord helps me.
6 I won’t be afraid of thousands of people
surrounding me on all sides.
7 Stand up, Lord!
Save me, my God!
In fact, hit all my enemies on the jaw;
shatter the teeth of the wicked!
8 Rescue comes from the Lord!
May your blessing be on your people!
David uses some imagery in this writing that I would tend to shy away from,
asking God to hit folks on the jaw or shatter teeth is not something I would
encourage. Although, I think what it tells us is that David is, once again, at
his wits end AND is coming before God with honesty, even if it feels a little
extreme. I have a wee story about this Psalm...
One afternoon I was in my office at the drug and alcohol where I used to
work in Nashville, my door knocked and a client came in and said, "You
know the way you told us to read through the Psalms, well the third one is
my favorite, it talks about shattering the teeth of my enemies!" (Don't worry
- there was lots of sarcasm in this statement).
We both laughed and talked at length about why that verse had struck a
chord. Even though it seems extreme, it was David's ability to be totally
honest with God about how he was feeling that made this text come alive
for this client. She went on to say, "Obviously God wasn't going to answer
this prayer, but God didn't hate David for saying it. I suppose it's more
constructive for me to bring those angry feelings to God than to hit
This Psalm acknowledges the range of feelings we experience. Bring it all
to God, friends, the pain, the anger, the joy, the fear, the hope, bring it all.
As our prayer today, I want to offer this hymn, written by Iona's John Bell,
Inspired by Love and Anger...