Q: List the specific actions taken against David. How would you characterize them?
- “...sharpened their tongue like a sword...”
- “...aimed bitter speech as their arrow...”
- “...shoot from concealment...”
All of these things are premeditated and take conscious planning to execute. The case is being made that, based on their actions, they are not just acting out of sin impulsively, but deliberately. It’s not a “heat of the moment” issue but wrong, pre-planned behavior.
Q: Why is it important for David to note that they “do not fear” what they do?
A: It’s a way of saying that they have no respect for God’s eventual repayment for their sin. If they were really worried about the presence of sin in their life, they would know and fear God’s eventual judgment for same and withhold their fire, so to speak.
Q: How does David describe himself?
A: “...the blameless”. He is clearly setting before God his own actions and behavior that they may be judged to determine whether or not David himself is free of sin.
Application: Do we sufficiently stop to examine the motives and behavior of both our attackers and self? Do we operate from the premise of whether or not sin is present and whether or not we’re truly blameless?
Q: Having begun his case by describing their actions, David now provides the motives for their sinful behavior. What is their agenda? What drives them to do these things?
A: “They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose”. (v.5) In other words, they are not just temporarily mean or experiencing a one-time flare-up of their emotions; they are acting on a decision to pursue his destruction.
Point: David is not teaching us about how to deal with emotional outbursts or moods, but specifically with those that plan to do evil against us. This is why such cases need to be made and presented to God, because only HE can judge and address hearts, whereas we can probably address temporary hurts and feelings ourselves.
Q: How does David indicate that these actions have to be premeditated in nature?
A: He describes their activities as “laying snares secretly” and “a well-conceived plot”.
Q: How does David indicate that it’s impossible for him to act, that it requires divine intervention?
A: “For the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep.” Only God can judge and reach such areas—we can’t know for sure.
Q: What is different in the way that God handles such situations as opposed to man’s natural inclination?
A: God first works on them spiritually in an attempt to change them, but if resisted, to make them into a demonstration to others of God’s character and work.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Q: What happens to Believers while all this is going on?
A: They “take refuge in Him” and relish in the joy of knowing it’s entirely in HIS hands.
Point: Remember that David is here talking about verbal persecution, not physical. It may be unpleasant and lead to something greater, but it’s easier to bear and forgive harsh words from a heart that may still turn back to following God than their following through with physical actions from which there may be no return.