Sticks and Stones

Psalm 64

            “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Simply, patently untrue. Everyone has been stung by the words of an enemy, or worse, the careless words of a friend. Words hurt. As the psalmist honestly admits, words can be like swords that maim and arrows that penetrate (vs 3).

            Our first instinct is to speak words back to the one who has injured us. Perhaps we can inflict greater pain that we are experiencing. Maybe that will lessen the sting. By replying we can ignore our pain, at least for the moment.

            David offers a better response. First, cry out to God. Acknowledge the hurt and pain that has been inflicted. Let God know of the terror that words create.

            Then, wait. Yes, wait. Don’t respond. Don’t fire back. Don’t retaliate. Have you noticed that wars of words typically escalate far beyond the original circumstance? So, wait.

            Finally, trust that God will respond. We want to see the enemy cringe in pain, suffer from the wounds. We may never see God’s reply (vs 7). However, God responds. “The acts of God are sudden …, not necessarily immediate, but while they wait in his protection those who are ‘right with him’ have a joy independent of worldly fortune.”[1]

            Words can hurt. Words can wound. God will demonstrate His righteousness, even if we never see His response. Cry out to God when you are wounded. Let God respond. God heals. God reveals His righteousness in His time and according to His nature.

[1] Motyer, J. A. (1994). The Psalms. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 525). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

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