Reflections

In Psalm 3, King David is upset with his son Absalom for staging a coup to dethrone him. David had to flee for his life from the palace in Jerusalem. David prays, Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. He was upset. What a painful thing to pray, even if the wicked deserve it. Broken teeth are no laughing matter. 

When the missionaries learned that it was my 50th birthday weekend, they took me to a moderate restaurant near downtown Ndjamena in Chad. They ordered pizza and cautioned me not to eat the salad. During the dinner conversation I cracked a tooth on an olive pit. It was Saturday night. I was upset. I was scheduled to preach the next morning in the largest church in that capitol city. With much prayer and a couple of aspirin, the service went well. After church they drove me to a small village where they asked the American dentist to have a look. He took me to his small house where he had a vintage 1960’s dental office. He patched up my tooth and sent us back to town. I was thankful. I had to have a crown on the tooth after I returned to Tulsa. One stressful year I told my dentist that I was resigning from his “crown of the month club.” I had four crowns in five months that year. He told me my teeth were getting old. 

During this year of COVID-19, dentists are reporting a major spike in cracked and broken teeth. Not only are their patients not having their regular appointments (and they can understand why), but people are clenching their jaws so strongly, day and night, that their teeth are breaking. People are upset. We are upset with our circumstances, cancelled plans, the state of our politics and the condition of some of our relationships. 

David was honest when he prayed. God can handle our emotions, clenched teeth and all. There are so many of these prayers in the book of Psalms that scholars have given them a name—imprecatory prayers. The name comes from imprecation—to call down a curse, misfortune, or judgment upon someone. Jesus came to show us a better way to live, act and pray. Read Matthew 5:33-48 and trust His way. 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Relax your jaw. And let’s experience the love and power of God together. 

Bro. Darryl 

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