A Prayer of Complaint: Psalm 64

Do you ever just feel like complaining about the bad things and people in this world?  While we might hold back complaining to God, thinking He prefers ACTS prayers – focused on Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication – He is infinitely and steadfastly loving and patient, and will listen to whatever we have to say.  David shared Psalm 64 with us as an example.

Read how David begins the Psalm:

Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
            preserve my life from dread of the enemy.”

Basically, David begins this Psalm by letting God know what’s coming: a series of complaints.  In the next verses, David complains about evil plots against him happening in secret, and those who can’t wait to ambush him.  David complains about how good evildoers are at what they do.  He writes:

“Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
            from the throng of evildoers,
who whet their tongues like swords,
            who aim bitter words like arrows,
shooting from ambush at the blameless,
            shooting at him suddenly and without fear.
They hold fast to their evil purpose;
            they talk of laying snares secretly,
thinking, ‘Who can see them?’
They search out injustice,
saying, ‘We have accomplished a diligent search.’
            For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.”

By “diligent search” they have found every method available and used every skill they have to attack David, and the evildoers are impressed with their ability to be unjust and to attack “the blameless”, “shooting at him suddenly and without fear.”  A lot of time and effort has been put into these secret plots.

The blog’s mascot: Ebenezer, the “But God” squirrel.

How will David stand against such attacks?  He won’t, but God[1] will, as David continues in verses 7 through 9:

But God shoots his arrow at them;
            they are wounded suddenly.
They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them;
            all who see them will wag their heads.
Then all mankind fears;
            they tell what God has brought about
            and ponder what he has done.”

The wicked, after much “diligent search,” gathered their “swords” and “arrows,” the words they would use to attack David and God’s people.  But because we have God, when we complain in prayer we don’t stop once our complaints have been aired – we continue with the “but God” part of the prayer, which comes with these three main implications:

  • First, that we need not respond in kind, because God needs only one arrow to bring them “suddenly” to ruin.  We are saved by His strength.
  • Second, we need not respond in degree – If our enemies are extraordinarily diligent or skilled in their plots, we do not need to match their effort, because it is God who takes care of us.  All the time and effort put in by the wicked in brought to nothing in a moment, and in that moment, “all mankind fears.”  We need not be intimidated.
  • And finally, any success of God’s enemies is temporary.  Someday He will resolve every complaint of injustice and silence every accusation against His people.

Therefore, as the Psalm ends:

“Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD
            and take refuge in him!
Let all the upright in heart exult!”


[1] See the earlier posts Two Words That Might Save Your Soul and Meet Ebenezer, the Blog’s New Mascot, on the significance of Ebenezer the squirrel and the words “But God”

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