David is angry as he writes this next song to sing. This is not a sweet ballad, it is a story of righteous frustration over people who continually lie to him and to God’s people. It is a righteous anger. Knowing the back story explains why he is so upset. Saul’s heart has turned against God. Lawlessness has set in. Those in charge left God’s principles and Law in the dust to pursue their own desires along with the pursuit of power.
During David’s exile years, Saul led the nation down a path of political and spiritual ruin as he disobeyed God’s law and opposed God’s anointed king. Saul was surrounded by a group of fawning flatterers who fed his ego and catered to his foolish whims (1 Sam. 22:6ff.), and he put into places of authority people who used their offices for personal gain and not for the national good. I’m not saying politicians do that today, but I’m not saying they don’t either.
It is frustrating when the leaders who govern us and say they will uphold the law before we elect them and then once in power, ignore their promises and claims to work for the good of all. The prophets often preached against the lawlessness of the leaders in Israel (Isa. 1:23-28; 5:22-25; 10:1-4; Amos 5:7-13; Mic. 3:1-4, 9-12; 7:1-6). Certainly nations, corporations, and even churches today need to take this kind of leadership crisis seriously. We cannot see the heart of man like God can, but we can pray to God for guidance and discernment to avoid evil in men and women who aspire to lead.
David tells us what look for and be aware in those who lead. These unjust judges in Saul court were liars. Their words were like venom that poisoned society instead of like medicine that brought health. David compared them to snakes and lions, both of which are images of the Devil ( 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Peter 5:8). David cries out to God because He knows God vindicates Himself, His law, and His people; and He does it justly. So effective is His judgment that outsiders will say, “Surely there is a God who judges on earth” (v. 11 nasb).
God wins in the end when all is said and done. Wait on the Lord.
Worship and Wisdom, Psalm and Proverbs
Psalm 58, The Message
A David Psalm
1-2 Is this any way to run a country?
Is there an honest politician in the house?
Behind the scenes you brew cauldrons of evil,
behind closed doors you make deals with demons.
3-5 The wicked crawl from the wrong side of the cradle;
their first words out of the womb are lies.
Poison, lethal rattlesnake poison,
drips from their forked tongues—
Deaf to threats, deaf to charm,
decades of wax built up in their ears.
6-9 God, smash their teeth to bits,
leave them toothless tigers.
Let their lives be buckets of water spilled,
all that’s left, a damp stain in the sand.
Let them be trampled grass
worn smooth by the traffic.
Let them dissolve into snail slime,
be a miscarried fetus that never sees sunlight.
Before what they cook up is half-done, God,
throw it out with the garbage!
10-11 The righteous will call up their friends
when they see the wicked get their reward,
Serve up their blood in goblets
as they toast one another,
Everyone cheering, “It’s worth it to play by the rules!
God’s handing out trophies and tending the earth!”
TRUTH: “It’s worth it to play by the rules.” Even when leaders or others around us do not, we need to stay strong, focused and rely on God’s help through it all. He wins every time. Most times, God allows some liars and deceivers enough “rope to hang themselves”. We reap what we sow, as Jesus told his followers.
What we learn…Leave the judgment and revenge to God. David had a chance to kill Saul in his sleep but he did not. David had enough respect for the law and for the leader that he waited and let God take care of Saul. God did. See 1 Samuel 24!
Proverb 19:22-29, The Message
It’s only human to want to make a buck,
but it’s better to be poor than a liar.
23 Fear-of-God is life itself,
a full life, and serene—no nasty surprises.
24 Some people dig a fork into the pie
but are too lazy to raise it to their mouth.
25 Punish the insolent—make an example of them.
Who knows? Somebody might learn a good lesson.
26 Kids who lash out against their parents
are an embarrassment and disgrace.
27 If you quit listening, dear child, and strike off on your own,
you’ll soon be out of your depth.
28 An unprincipled witness desecrates justice;
the mouths of the wicked spew malice.
29 The irreverent have to learn reverence the hard way;
only a slap in the face brings fools to attention.
WISDOM: It’s better to be poor than to be a liar. Fear-of-God (awe and reverence) is Life! Be a leader of integrity, continually seeking God and maturing in His characteristics. Be a follower who loves like Jesus loves us.
Thank you for your wisdom that gives Life as well as skills for living. Thank you for the lessons learned in David’s backstory. Thank you for your Word that teaches us how to live. You didn’t leave us on our own after saving us. Your love goes even deeper than that! You gave us Your Word to help us live in ways that are for our good and declare your glory. I am eternally grateful. I haven’t arrived but I know the path to where I’m going. Thank you for Lighting the way to all that is right and good. Help me this day to stay focused on that path that leads to Life forever with You!
In Jesus Name, Amen