Lent Devotion: April 17th
April 17, 2019
By Lisa Hansen-Tice
1 Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
protect me from those who are violent,
2 who plan evil things in their minds
and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
and under their lips is the venom of vipers.
4 Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent
who have planned my downfall.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net,
along the road they have set snares for me.
6 I say to the Lord, “You are my God;
give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.”
7 O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot.
9 Those who surround me lift up their heads;
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall on them!
Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!
11 Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil speedily hunt down the violent!
12 I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy,
and executes justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall live in your presence.
As children, we used the rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As we said this, we hoped that the hateful words tossed at us would bounce away without causing any harm. Unfortunately, the reality is that words do hurt us. Slander and name-calling can hurt us deeply. They wound our psyche to such a level that it can take years to overcome the wounding. That is why bullies use the tactics of words as well as violence against people—they know how wounding they can be.
David, God’s anointed, was not immune to slander nor to the pain that words produce. So painful were they to him, that he equated them with the venom of the most poisonous of snakes: vipers. Without legal recourse, without position or authority, David turned to the only one who could help him in his deepest distress, God. Out of his deepest pain, David raised a prayer to God for protection. His confidence in God—the deep understanding that God takes up the cause of the needy—led him to seek God’s protection not just from the weapons of war, but from the weapons of words.
When people say things that are hurtful, we can have confidence like David that God will hear our cries and will bring justice, a justice that might not be present in this world, but a justice that will allow us to stand before God with praise upon our lips. Trust that God will deliver us from the slings and arrows of hurtful words and provide a balm that will heal all our wounds.
Prayer: Loving God, thank you for hearing our plea. Keep evil words from hurting and wounding our hearts and minds. Provide protection from the pain of words used as weapons. Help us, Lord, to mind our tongues that we may only provide words of hope and encouragement to the people who surround us. Thank you for listening to the cause of the needy and providing justice for your people. Amen.
Lisa TiceLisa Hansen-Tice is a chaplain in the United States Air Force currently working at the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center in San Antonio, Texas. She serves as the center chaplain and provides oversight of Chaplain Corps personnel, budget, and readiness at Air Force bases throughout the world.