Psalm 17:4 With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
In the life of David, who would become king over Israel, there were key moments when the pressures of daily life stressed him to the point of ungodly action. How many of us can relate to that!!
This verse in Psalm 17 was possibly written in the aftermath of an encounter that would press David, and tempt him to take vengeance for the sake of his own reputation. In 1 Samuel 25 we read about a fool named Nabal who refused to give David and his men assistance when they were in need, and who had also derided David as a worthless man. David’s response was to move to strike this man, and to kill him and all his servants.
Nabal’s wife, Abigail, was sensitive to the Spirit of God, and recognized God’s hand on David, so she moved to intercept him as he was on his way to take revenge. She saw David with God’s eyes, and called him to rise up to the standards of God’s purposes for David. Basically, she said to him “You are better than this! Let God deal with this fool, and you, David, stay true to God’s vision for your life!”
David responded with humility, and God did indeed deliver him and prosper him as a result.
Here’s the key: David heard God’s voice in the words of a courageous woman, and avoided a trap that would have negatively affected him for the rest of his days.
There are two things to consider. One is this – under times of pressure, do we have the humility to hear God’s corrective or directive word through unlikely people? If so, much pain and trouble may be avoided.
Second, do we have the courage to speak to someone else when we perceive by the Holy Spirit that they are headed down a destructive path? It takes a courageous person to be a true friend in those times, especially in an age where we are reluctant to have an opinion on someone else’s choices.
Whether we are on the giving end or the receiving end of such a thing, what is required is a listening ear that is sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is saying. Our Father really does have our best interests at heart, and His word will save us a lot of trouble.
All we need is the humility to listen, and the courage to obey.