Psalm 109 is an imprecatory psalm in which David invokes judgment, calamity, and curses upon his enemies. On first read, the prayer seems cruel and vindictive as we remember Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” — Matthew 5:43-44
This command to pray for all types of people, even our enemies, was one that Pastor Brett walked us through this past Sunday from I Timothy 2. Thus, with that so fresh in our minds, David’s prayer for retribution seems shocking. With closer study, however, we note that this is a raw, passionate prayer between a victim of evil and a just God who abhors sin.
This is the honest, hold-nothing-back communication we’ve discussed before in this Psalms series. In graphic detail, outlining the desired demise of his enemies, David begs for justice and deliverance from evil, but he circles back to who God is and leaves justice to Him. Finally, he practices the pre-praising we discussed yesterday, saying, “With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death” (v. 30-31).
As you study Psalm 109 today, ask yourself:
When a wicked person attacks me or someone I love, am I giving myself to passionate prayer (v. 4)? Which emotions (such as a desire for revenge) do I struggle to share with God because they seem too shocking to place before a righteous God? Do I believe that God can truly handle my ugliest thoughts and feelings because He loves me without condition? Will I trust Him today to always act on my behalf?
Spend some time in prayer, talking to God about the emotions welling up inside you. Pray Psalm 109:21-29 as if you were the author, and end with pre-praise, repeating verses 30 and 31 as your affirmation of God’s perfect advocacy for you.