The Psalmist was living his life. All seemed right with the world.
Then his foes, and probably those he thought were his friends, joined together to lay a trap for him. It wasn’t just gossip and character assignation but a snare of intended death.
The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me (v. 6, NIV).
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow (v. 3).
This Psalm is about unexpected persecution by your best friends.
I am greatly afflicted. In my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar” (vv. 10-11).
We expect the world to treat us unfairly, but it hurts deeply when the lies originate from those we have lived life with, those we have served, and those we thought were our supporters.
What did the Psalmist do?
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live (vv. 1-2).
We will all suffer friends who turn against us; what will we do?
I’ve endured many insults and gossip questioning my leadership style, accusing me of arrogance, and challenging my insincerity. I remember when someone told me that a friend had summed up my ministry with the statement, “Grant isn’t a pastor. He is just a businessman building his own kingdom.”
That hurt and still does. All of us have a memory like this.
Sometimes the lies have devastating consequences. We can lose a job, our friends might believe the lies and turn against us, and like Jesus, we feel like lambs led to slaughter – especially if we were doing the right thing when the assault began.
We must remember that the evil one is the father of lies and he can entice even the righteous to participate in his well-planned schemes.
The Psalmist didn’t complain or gossip in response.
Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” (v. 4)
Often, this is our only recourse – turn to the Lord and wait.
How difficult it is to do nothing. In response to lies against us, waiting is sometimes the only thing that we can do, and most of the time it is the best thing that we can do. We have to let the Lord stand for us because defending ourselves makes us look guilty.
We must believe that…
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me (vv. 5-6).
The Psalmist responded with faith in the goodness of God. What did he do after he asked the Lord for help? Verse 7 is one of the most amazing verses in the Bible.
Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you (v. 7).
Wow! In danger, the Psalmist rested.
How difficult it is to rest in the Lord while being attacked. What would we do? Text a friend slandering our enemies? File a lawsuit? Complain on Facebook? Probably all of these.
Psalm 116 gives us the solution for unfounded accusations – pray, wait, and rest!
When we follow this formula, what can we expect?
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living (vv. 8-9).
The best strategy for undeserved persecution is allowing the Lord to make your defense. With God as your helper, you can find peace.