Protection from evil, in the presence of God
Psalm 140 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Prayer for Protection against the Wicked.
Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men;
Preserve me from violent men
2 Who devise evil things in their hearts;
They continually stir up wars.
3 They sharpen their tongues as a serpent;
Poison of a viper is under their lips. Selah.
4 Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the
Preserve me from violent men
Who have purposed to trip up my feet.
5 The proud have hidden a trap for me, and cords;
They have spread a net by the wayside;
They have set snares for me. Selah.
said to the Lord, “You are my God;
Give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.
7 “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
You have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 “Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
Do not promote his evil device, that they not be exalted. Selah.
9 “As for the head of those who surround me,
May the mischief of their lips cover them.
10 “May burning coals fall upon them;
May they be cast into the fire,
Into deep pits from which they cannot rise.
11 “May a slanderer not be established in the earth;
May evil hunt the violent man speedily.”
12 I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted
And justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name;
The upright will dwell in Your presence.
Although David was a great warrior, his preference was to rest in the Lord and have Him take care of his enemies. Perhaps some of David’s dependence on God rather than taking care of his problems with his enemies himself was rooted in the fact that throughout his life David often found himself in situations where his enemies were those who were close to him. King Saul, who David had fought side by side with and at whose table David was welcomed, later pursued him, wanting to take his life. Several times as Saul pursued David there were opportunities for David to kill Saul. David though would not strike Saul, he said: “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD’s anointed.” (1 Samuel 24:6) And again in 1 Samuel 26:8-10: Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time.” But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be without guilt?” David also said, “As the Lord lives, surely the Lord will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. Later in his life David was also threatened by his own son Absalom. In 2 Samuel 18:5, he instructed his commanders : The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, "Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom." And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom. Rather than strike those who came against him David prays: Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men Who devise evil things in their hearts…
In another psalm of trust and confidence in God, Psalm 37, David says: Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass
And fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. David prioritizes the relationship we have with God over the concern for those who do wrong. Our concern, like his, should not be in the things they have, but rather in what we have with God, through Christ. We are promised a life of abundance. In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
David continues in Psalm 37: Rest in the Lord
and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. Romans
12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Jesus Himself says: “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:28)
When we allow ourselves to become focused on revenge and getting ahead of those who do wrong, we ourselves fall along with them. God Himself says: 'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity
is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.' (Deuteronomy 32:35) Psalm 37 continues: for evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
We, like David should recognize that each person is really the Lord’s anointed. Jesus, the Anointed One, died on the cross for every person. Who then are we to curse them or strike out against them? In today’s text David says: I said to the Lord, “You are my God; Give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications. “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle. “Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; Do not promote his evil device, that they not be exalted. It is good and right to seek the protection and provision of God. We should trust in Him, delight ourselves in Him. We should not concern ourselves with the things of the world which others may attain through unrighteousness. Rather as Jesus says: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) In Psalm 37:23-29, David says: The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore. For the Lord loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever.
Today’s text says: I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted And justice for the poor. Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; The upright will dwell in Your presence.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit I do indeed give thanks to Your name. I desire to dwell in Your presence, to delight in You and to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. I ask Lord God that You would protect me from the hands and the plans of evil. But I pray Lord that You would bless those people and reveal Your love, mercy and grace to them, as You have to me. I pray lord that You would grant them the revelation of Your love, demonstrated in the cross of Christ. May they too come to know the great inheritance You have given us through Christ Jesus, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the name above every name, the only name by which men can be saved. In His name, the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen