Minimizing the Evil Character of an Enemy is Foolish, and Dangerous. (Psalm 140)

Scripture reading – (Psalm 140)

The title of Psalm 140 identifies David as the author, and its occasion was most likely when he fled from Saul, and became a fugitive in the wilderness. The focus of today’s devotional will be primarily the first five verses of David’s prayer. The first verse identifies the prompting of the prayer.

Let’s take a lesson from David’s supplication, and reflect on his depiction of the wicked (140:1-5).

Psalm 140:1 – Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man [wicked; immoral]: preserve me from the violent man [unjust; cruel; malicious];
Which imagine [devise; plot; purpose] mischiefs [evil; wickedness] in their heart; continually [always; daily] are they gathered together [assembled] for war [battle; fighting].
3 They have sharpened [pierced] their tongues [talk; speech] like a serpent; adders’ [viper] poison [fury; wrath; rage; indignation] is under their lips. Selah.
4 Keep me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed [devised; plotted] to overthrow [cast down; i.e. with intent to harm; to drive away] my goings [steps].
5 The proud [arrogant] have hid a snare [trap] for me, and cords [a noose]; they have spread a net [i.e. a trap for catching animals] by the wayside; they have set gins [traps] for me. Selah.

David understood the sinful character of his enemy (“evil, violent, wicked, and proud”), and he did not underestimate his malicious ways, or his evil intent. He realized the wicked “imagine mischiefs” (plotting, and planning evil). They threaten, and their tongues are like the poison of a viper (140:3). They plot to cast down good men (140:4), and in their pride set traps to ensnare the righteous (140:5).

I am confident David’s characterization of his enemy might shock the sensibilities of some. When we are wise and discerning, we will not be oblivious to the ways of the world, or the character of the wicked. In fact, dismissing or minimizing the character of an enemy is not only foolish, it is dangerous.

David affirmed the LORD was his God, and petitioned Him to “hear the voice of [his] supplications [pleads]” (140:6). He did not minimize his foe’s desire to destroy him (140:8), and he prayed they would fall victim to their own lips, and snares (140:9-11). David had borne the sorrows of betrayal, but he remained confident the LORD was just, and is the protector of those who trust in Him (140:12).

A closing observation: Living in a culture that embraces “political correctness” over principle, I find a growing reticence to confront the wickedness of society among those who should be bold to speak the truth. It is not enough to identify the enemies of Christ and His people. It is not enough to define what manner of people the enemy is…evil, wicked, violent, and proud.  We must accept Paul’s challenge to Timothy as our call to spiritual battle:

2 Timothy 4:2, 5 – Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine…5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith