I Am for Peace

David Bast

Read: Psalm 120

I am for peace, but . . . they are for war! (v. 7)

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” When was the first time you heard that? Probably many years ago, on a playground somewhere. Well, it wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now—especially now, when hurtful words can be tweeted from a phone or posted online. Slander and accusations are like sharp arrows or glowing coals (v. 4). When aimed against us they hurt.

In the psalmist’s case, the malicious speech was provoked by an unpopular stand taken among hostile people. He finds himself living far away from God’s land and God’s people (v. 5); Mesech in the far north and Kedar in Arabia are about as distant from the temple as one could imagine. The world’s enmity is aroused by the psalmist’s life and witness, which contradict the world’s value system (v. 7). But the sharp, fiery words of his enemies will be paid back by sharp, fiery judgment from God (vv. 3-4). In the justice of God, people eventually will receive what they hand out to others.

Jesus agreed: “Judge not, and you will not be judged . . . forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you . . . For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:37-38). I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to treat others with kindness and mercy—in huge amounts! —David Bast

As you pray, reflect on times when you have uttered hurtful words. Ask God’s forgiveness.