Today’s passage: Psalm 64
Today’s chocolate: Green & Black’s Organic 85% Dark Chocolate
Psalm 64 isn’t the first psalm we’ve seen that devotes a large passage to characterizing evildoers. I’m reminded of Psalm 12, in which David describes liars that he thought he could trust, and I could easily dig out more examples from the psalms we’ve already surveyed. But here David uses an archery metaphor not only for wicked men, but also for God’s response to their plotting. Let’s take a closer look at the picture he paints.
Evildoers, in David’s book, are verbal snipers. He tells us, “They aimed bitter speech as their arrow to shoot from concealment at the blameless; suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear” (3-4). They use their words to wound, they hide while attacking from a distance, and they are brazen and sudden in their verbal assault. Moreover, they use their words to develop plans among themselves. David says, “They devise injustices, saying, ‘We are ready with a well-conceived plot'” (6). Their lies and insults are calculated to bring down their victims.
But God turns the situation around. “But God will shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly they will be wounded” (7), David writes, employing the same vocabulary that he just used to describe the evildoers. It would seem that in focusing on their target, they failed to see God with his metaphorical bow drawn. More literally translated, the verse says, “Suddenly their wounds occurred,” which I find to be a potent description.
Imagine: you are an evildoer concealed in the underbrush, your bow drawn back, some righteous man in your sights. Suddenly you feel a poke below your ribcage, like a mosquito bite. You flinch involuntarily, spoiling your aim. You look down to see an arrow embedded in your abdomen. For a surreal moment, you stare at the arrow and think, “I’ve been shot,” watching the wound begin to bleed. The pain hits, and it dawns on you that someone is out there hunting you. You begin to look around, trying to find the attacker and pinpoint his position from the angle of his attack, but your vision blurs and the sting grows to a burning gnaw. You clutch the wound, falling on your side.
And among the trees, God is already on the move, drawing another arrow and moving into position to take down the next evildoer.