Foes and opponents (Psalms 4, 6, 7, 17)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project

After Psalms 1 and 2, Book 1 has many psalms in which David complains to God about his enemies. These psalms can be difficult for readers today since David sometimes sounds vengeful. But we should not miss the fact that when foes are around him, he commits the problem to God. He does not take matters into his own hands.

These psalms have application to the workplace. Frequently conflicts and rivalries will appear among people on the job, and sometimes these fights can be vicious. Occupational battles can lead to depression and loss of sleep. Psalm 4:8 is a prayer about personal enemies, and it says, “I will both lie down and sleep in peace; for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.” When we commit a matter to God, we can have tranquility. When we are in the midst of such a battle, however, our prayers for help may seem futile. But God hears and responds: “Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping” (Psalm 6:8). On the other hand, we must be careful to maintain our integrity when in the midst of such conflicts. It will do no good for us to call out to God if we are being mean, dishonest, or unethical on the job. “O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my ally with harm… then let the enemy pursue and overtake me… and lay my soul in the dust” (Ps. 7:3–5). Psalm 17:3 makes the same point.