1 For the director of music. A psalm of David.
Rescue me, O LORD, from evil men; protect me from men of violence, 2 who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. 3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips. Selah
4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet. 5 Proud men have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path. Selah 6 O LORD, I say to you, “You are my God.” Hear, O LORD, my cry for mercy. 7 O Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle— 8 do not grant the wicked their desires, O LORD; do not let their plans succeed, or they will become proud. Selah 9 Let the heads of those who surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused. 10 Let burning coals fall upon them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise. 11 Let slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down men of violence.
12 I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. 13 Surely the righteous will praise your name and the upright will live before you.
Psalm 140 – Praying it through
(Verses 1-3) When David prays, he gets straight to the heart of his prayer. A young child in need talks like that to his parents. It is good to remember to pray like that. He starts this psalm with two requests: one is for rescue; the other is for protection. The good news of the Lord Jesus Christ deals with both those very important matters: rescue and protection for all who trust Him. We are, by nature, sinners, who cannot do right consistently or continually. We are on the broad road to a lost and eternal place of destruction. (Matthew 7:13-14). We cannot conquer the sin in us or around us, or the malicious power of the devil. We cannot save ourselves. We need to be rescued from sin, death and Hell just as a drowning man who cannot swim needs to be rescued from the rough sea engulfing him. David had to face men of violence, evil planning, daily warfare, and cutting lips that poisoned their hearers about him. God rescued David. The Lord Jesus is our Rescuer. He came as ‘the Son of Man… to seek and to save what was lost.’ He lived a perfect life without any sign, suggestion or hint of sin. His perfect body bore God the Father’s wrath against us as the penalty for our sins. He died and rose again. All who now turn from sin and trust Him receive God’s pardon and eternal life. He rescues us from Hell, for Heaven. He is with us to keep and help us walk on His narrow but blessed way. He is our Deliverer. He is also our Protector. The Lord now protects, guards and guides us spiritually, just as He protected David then from his vicious foes.
(Verses 4-11) Having laid all this before God in prayer, David faces the fact that he has strong and able enemies. That very fact keeps him trusting the Lord, because he has insufficient strength of his own to win.
It is the same for us in our spiritual battles. We are overwhelmed, but God is with us. We sometimes are opposed by people like those who work, conspire and plan to trap and bring down David. David reminds God that He is his God. David turns all their opposition into specific prayers to sustain and help him. He cries for mercy from God. He asks God to defeat his enemies in physical ways. We must pray for His help spiritually. His emphasis is that his foes be judged and removed. Our attitude to any who oppose us is to ask God to save and bless them, so that they will come to love the Lord. Only Jesus Christ can do that.
(Verses 12-13) Having shared his needs and his heart in prayer with the God who loves him, David’s confidence in God, His character and His actions, rise to the top in David’s prayer. God’s justice will prevail. The poor and needy will be cared for. All counted upright and righteous by God will praise Him and ‘live before’ Him eternally. That also includes sinners made right with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.