“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks.” (Psalm 18:25-27)
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes shrewd “as having or showing a practical cleverness or [sharp powers of] judgment.” Did you notice how David constructed these words? The merciful, the blameless, and the pure receive an equal reaction from God but the devious is treated very differently.
Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2: 12-13, “If we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for he cannot deny Himself.” In other words, if we endure and remain faithful God will endure in grace and reward us faithfully but if we fall away; if we deny Him He will deny us because our denial reveals our faithlessness and He cannot partake of that which is faithless. Therefore, He remains faithful; faithful to Himself, for there is none above or besides Him and He cannot deny Himself.
David knew this and moves away from saying that God will offer an equal reaction to the merciful, blameless, and pure to an opposite reaction to the devious/faithless. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary also describes devious behavior as “showing a skillful use of underhanded tactics to achieve goals.”
God, in His immeasurable wisdom, employs His sharp powers of judgement and practical cleverness to counter the skillful use of underhanded tactics the devious use to achieve their goals. This is why the Psalmist says that “The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:9).
Today, if you are troubled by the devious behavior of those around you; if you are concerned about the underhanded tactics of those you work with and for, those who govern you, and those who lead your congregation take comfort in the infinite shrewdness of a righteous God. Be patient, pray, and take shelter in God to Whom belong all vengeance and know that He will repay the devious for their transgressions.
Remember, “[He] will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on [Him], Because he trusts in [Him].