Protect me, Lord, from the power of the wicked. Keep me safe from violent men who plan to make me stumble. (Psalms 140:4)
In Psalm 140, the psalmist pleads with God for deliverance from “violent men.” These are the type of people “who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually.” Violent people are those people who seek to destroy and slander you not because you deserve it but out of the evil in their own heart. So the question is, for the Christian, how should we deal with our own enemies? Well, the way the psalmist does it is by appealing to God. He first asks God to guard him (v.4). We need God to protect us from evil people. The second thing he does is he acknowledges God’s character. He says “You are my God”, “the strength of my salvation”. He knows that he can appeal to God because God is his strength. Thirdly, he asks God to allow for “the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!” In other words, he’s saying that if these people will not follow God, if they will not obey him, then let them receive the fruits of their deeds. As Christians this is sometimes difficult for us to understand in light of the gospel but what he says in verses 12 and 13 will help.
In verses 12 the psalmist expresses confidence that the “LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.” Then in 13 he states his confidence that righteous people will be thankful and will dwell in God’s presence. His last appeals show that what he’s doing to deal with his enemies isn’t attacking them, plotting evil against them, and treating them as he’s been treated. What the psalmist is doing is appealing to God and saying, “you judge them God.” And that’s what we should do with our enemies. Throughout the Bible God says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And in Romans Paul actually writes, “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.” So when you face enemies appeal to God, acknowledge is character, and leave the vengeance to the God who judges perfectly.