On Being Slugged in the Jaw (Psalm 3)

Lord, I have so many enemies!
    So many are standing against me.
So many are talking about me:
    “Even God won’t help him.” Selah
But you, Lord, are my shield!
    You are my glory!
    You are the one who restores me.
I cry out loud to the Lord,
    and he answers me from his holy mountain. Selah
I lie down, sleep, and wake up
    because the Lord helps me.
I won’t be afraid of thousands of people
    surrounding me on all sides.

Stand up, Lord!
    Save me, my God!
In fact, hit all my enemies on the jaw;
    shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Rescue comes from the Lord!
    May your blessing be on your people! Selah (Psalm 3, Common English Bible)

First, I know I said last week that I was going to try to make the second post on each psalm a poem. After writing “Hello Little Girl,” now including music, and “Dance Girl Dance,” (I will post sometime later this week, perhaps even Saturday) for my oldest granddaughter, my brain just isn’t letting me think about anything poetry.

Second, before reading any of this post, know this, Keith IS NOT a fight fan. I am unable (for myself) to reconcile being a fan of a sport where they are trying to hurt each other with being a servant of the Prince of Peace, who says the most important thing is love. Fighting, whether boxing, martial arts, or ultimate fighting seem anything but loving. I cannot reconcile those things. If you can reconcile them, more power to you.

Third, after reading this psalm again, poetry came to my mind when I read verse 7 again. “Hit all my enemies in the jaw. Shatter the teeth of the wicked.” I don’t think any of us could easily argue that the psalmist didn’t at least have a bit of a violent streak.”

There should be no question that the psalmist at least feels he is persecuted. He feels like someone is out to get him. I also think I would be hard-pressed to come up with a legitimate story of how he was not persecuted.

Further, it isn’t just this psalmist. Because there are more psalms of lament than any other genre of psalms, most of the time, the psalmist is focused on personal problems and solutions, “hit them in the jaw and shatter their teeth.”

Even David had good reasons to lament. Remember, King Saul was out to get David. Saul was so jealous of David, he wanted the future king dead. He also actively tried to make it happen.

I don’t really know whether it is out of fear, perhaps the enemy of the psalmist is a bigger guy or has more dangerous body guards or something. Or, did he think he might offend God and get into trouble if he tried to take charge of the situation himself. So, instead, he wants God to handle it.

When we think about New Testament scripture that would talk about punching our enemy in the jaw, we would be hard pressed to find it. We would have an easier time finding a scripture that talked of turning the other cheek, something saying in essence, we can’t punch or enemies in the jaw. Might then would we want God to punch them for us, and shatter a few teeth while God was at it?

I can’t really blame the psalmist here. If I can get God to take care of those measures on my behalf, I am not liable. I didn’t do it. It was God that did it, and I got the vengeance my mind wanted.

Sometimes it is hard to live in the faith. We really want to take care of our enemies. At a minimum we want “what goes around, to come around.”

But, in the end, I come full-circle, God calls me to love my neighbors and if I am a faithful student of Scripture, I also know, everyone is my neighbor. So instead, I need to love my neighbor and it is pretty difficult to punch my neighbor in the jaw and shatter his teeth, when I am busy showing him love.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Seeking the Genuine,

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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