Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Psalm 5 & 6 - Finding Refuge in the LORD When the Target of Lies

LINK: Psalm 5 & 6


BACKGROUND

These are both Psalms of David, but there is no date for them, but they obviously occurred during times when David had foes that spread lies. They are both the first of many "imprecatory psalms."

There is mention of the "temple" in 5:7. This has led some people to believe that David could not have written these because the temple was built by his son, Solomon, after David had died, but this word is also used for the tabernacle.

REFLECTION

I always felt so sorry for David: hiding in caves, on the run, the victim of lies. For the most part, I cannot identify with many of the things that he went through because I have never been a King and chased by power hungry enemies! I can identify on one point though: being the target of malicious lies and gossip. Sadly, it has been more than once.

I have heard it said that "a lie makes it all the way around the world before the truth ever gets an opportunity to get its shoes on." That is so true! In all those incidences of being the target of lies, I felt so powerless to put out the fires of falsehood that swirled around me. The whispers behind my back always seemed to get back to me; and quite honestly, I would have preferred not to know what was being said because it hurt so badly. It could have been devastating if it had not been for the comfort I have found from God in the Psalms, including these two.

The hard thing about lies and gossip is there is often no open trial where one can hear directly the accusations leveled against him or her and present any evidence in defense or even openly enter a plea of "guilty as charged." More often than not, there is only a "silent trial" going on where the accused is never even summoned to appear. The evidence is presented in the court of gossip, and one is found guilty of their crimes and sentenced to years of a reputation damaged.

My heart has been broken because of this. Yet God's abundant love has given great comfort to my soul in those time:
You destroy those who speak falsehood; 
The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit. 
But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, 
At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You 
Oh LORD, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; 
Make Your way straight before me. 
There is nothing reliable in what they say; 
Their inward part is destruction itself
Their throat is an open grave; 
They flatter with their tongue. (Psalm 5:5-9)

Now, I am not like David in that I do not wish for destruction of those people who have spread lies and gossip, but I have desired vindication and reconciliation. Sometimes, that just does not happen, but I have to leave that in God's hands.

I love what the NASB Study Bible says in connection with these verses:
The most frequent weapon used against the psalmists is the tongue (for a striking example see Psalm 12). The psalmists experienced that the tongue is as deadly as a sword (see 57:4; 64:3-4). Perhaps appeals to God against those who maliciously wield the tongue are frequent in the Psalms because only in God's courtroom can a person experience redress for such attacks. (p.745)
And in God's courtroom there is always a fair trial and impartial Judge!

God has met me in those times, and I can sing with David:

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, 
Let them ever sing for joy; 
And may You shelter them, 
That those who love Your name may exult in You. 
For it is You who blesses the the righteous man, O LORD, 
You surround him with favor as with a shield. 
(Psalm 5:11-12)


AMEN!

I should add that I was just commenting to George as I was writing this that I have not spent as much time in these Psalms lately because I have not been the target of gossip for quite some time! I am in a church in which the leadership models and encourages a "culture of peace" (much because of the material from Peacemaker Ministries being an integral part of our church) and that has made all the difference! People are encouraged to go directly to one another. I have to honestly say that since we started going there in 2006, I have not heard one word of gossip about anyone! Conflict happens, but we are given the freedom to fail and make things right without condemnation. That is the way of grace! 

In 2011, I was involved in a ministry that had some members of my old church, and once again, something I supposedly said was spread that was absolutely false. It was not anything malicious this time, but it was false nonetheless and misrepresented me! I needed to forgive and move on though, and I did. It reminded me to be careful what I repeat to others.

APPLICATION

Perhaps you have been a target of lies and gossip. Pray through these Psalms again and "pour out your heart like water in the presence of the LORD" (Lamentations 2:19) because the LORD does hear and receive your prayers (Psalm 6:8-9). Remember that God allows these trials to happen to develop us and mature us. He is much more concerned with developing your character than preserving your reputation.

Perhaps you have been one who has perpetuated gossip or allowed it to go unchecked in your church or community. You might want to take a look at the material at Peacemaker Ministries and let peace begin with you at your church! It takes a brave person to change a culture of gossip and lies. Do not be afraid to stand up and stop the insanity! I am happy to say that a brave soul at my old church has introduced this material recently. I hope it makes a significant difference!

PRAYER

LORD, we praise You as the righteous Judge! We know that You see both evil and the good, and You hear the voice of our weeping and receive us (Psalm 6:8-9). Helps us to entrust our reputations to You alone. We ask that You would allow truth to reign in our lives and our churches LORD. Let peace begin with us. Watch over our lips so that we would not speak of other people in a way that would hurt, damage, or misrepresent them; and if we are hurt and damaged by others, teach us the way of Jesus by helping us to forgive them and continue to pray for them. Amen.
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