"But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken." Psalm 37:15
When discussing the schemes used by the evil to defeat those considered less than them, it is important to point out that swords and bows were both military weapons used at the time this Psalm was written. After reading yesterday's verse and seeing how it leads into today's, it is hard to ignore the fact that the evil actually see the poor and needy as enemies and view interaction with them as a war that needs weapons. Scary to think that each time we deal with the evil and wicked, we must be prepared to be chopped to pieces if our demise is of benefit to them. Today's scripture is a reminder of the consequences of our own evil actions as we "play with fire". Numerous times in Scripture we see this truth of evil ones literally being killed by their own evil plans. A classic example is Saul, who after losing his anointing for his lack of obedience to God in 1 Samuel 15, literally died by his own sword later in life instead of being taken apart by those he saw as less than himself (The Philistines).
The war we fight today is much different than the wars of ancient times. Today, we equip ourselves with information, worldly wisdom, and experience in order to better fight our wars with our present day "swords", also known as WORDS. For whatever reason, the way people get ahead today is to put others down through gossip, libel and slander. Gone are the William Wallace's of "Braveheart" and in are the media, journalists, TMZ and our own gossip. To us, the "poor and needy" besides being the obvious, would also be considered those "out of the loop" or those we consider to be "without a clue". In Christian circles, the poor and needy are the stereotypical overweight, prayer warriors, with no friends, who don't leave the house and are considered weird. Of course this stereotype is once again defined by those outside the faith, yet even we "cool" Christians make our own Brothers and Sisters the punchline of our jokes in order to seem more in touch with those in the World. Instead of responding to these poor and needy in love, as mentioned yesterday, we plot to use them and mock them, killing them with our words in order to give ourselves a better social standing. As the phrase says, "we have chosen to love things and use people instead of loving people and using things". Because success today is synonymous with fame, celebrity or notoriety, people have chosen to pursue today's success by putting others down for the sake of puffing themselves up, regardless of who we "kill" in the process.
I personally struggle mightily in this area and have suffered severe consequences at the expense of my own sword/words. More often than not, when I have an opinion on something (which is too frequently) I react out of my humanity instead of consulting the Spirit. Many times, I aim to appear smart, bright, brilliant, in touch, or funny even at the expense of the degradation of another human being. I can think of numerous times that I schemed to get ahead, make myself feel better, or look "great" to the multitudes by speaking poorly of somebody that I consider to be in my way of success only later to find out that I have to answer to my own accusations. Talk about feeling low, silly and "wishing I was dead", there is nothing worse than bringing somebody else down, only later to have to "eat your words".
God's message in today's short passage is incredibly clear. If you choose to hold on to your own life, to use the same weapons that are used by the evil in order to glorify yourself, you will absolutely have consequences. If you choose to take advantage of people by using your own words as your present day sword, as an eight year old once told me "God has a place for people like that". How often do we speak too quickly, typically out of anger, only later to deal with explaining what "we really meant". I urge you today to take 1 Peter 3:8-9 to heart which states, "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."
Refuse to kill yourself today with your own weapons. As we see in present day war, "friendly fire" is nearly just as deadly as fire from the opposition. As we walk around with our "sword" in hand, be careful to use it for good instead of evil and trust that God has promised a life to those who come to Him through His son Jesus Christ. As Peter states above, "live in harmony...,be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble..." as this is a great help in getting over ourselves enough to trust God.