Theme: Calling upon God
In this week’s lessons we see that as David looks to God for victory over his enemies, there is much we can learn as we face battles of our own.
Scripture: Psalm 64:1-10
The psalm begins by David asking God to hear his complaint. In our ears the word “complaint” has a negative sound, because we associate it with complaining and we don’t like people who complain. But that is not the sense in which complaint occurs here. Here the word refers to a formal allegation, in this case against the wicked by one who is being unjustly treated by them. Our clearest parallel example would be a complainant in a legal proceeding, that is, one who initiates an action calling for reparation or redress. David brings his case to God. Do you, when you are unjustly accused or attacked in some underhanded way? Most of us don’t. We retaliate in kind. We try to be our own defenders. That is wrong, of course. God says, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Deut. 32:35; cf. Rom. 12:19). For our part, we are told to love our enemies and overcome evil with good (cf. Rom. 12:21).
However, retaliation is not only wrong but is also particularly ineffective where secret slander rather than outright opposition is involved, which is the case here. In this psalm David’s enemies are not attacking him openly and directly, but rather behind his back and by malicious words. There is no adequate defense against that. So David does the only wise and effective thing, and that is to bring his complaint to God.
We would be wise to bring everything to God, whatever our particular burden may be. Peter learned to do that and later wrote to others, telling them, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
How is the word complaint used in this passage?
Why is retaliation an ineffective way to deal with our enemies?
What is significant about the way David’s enemies are hurting him?
Reflection: How do you normally react when someone treats you unfairly? According to the passage in Romans, how should you respond?
Prayer: Ask God to help you resist revenge when you’re treated unjustly, but instead “cast all your anxiety on him” (1 Pet. 5:7).