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,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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