A devotion of Psalm 109
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent,
Praise is the anchor of David’s life. It defines him in good times and in hard times. He lifts God up and humbles himself as we will see in this psalm. He invokes God at a time when his character has been assaulted and his life threatened by a vicious enemy. Even then, he knows, God is God and worthy of praise. At such times we are likely to crumble in our faith and to turn all the focus inward in self-pity and defensiveness. May we learn from David to keep our eyes upon Jesus and not upon the threats being brandished at us.
2 for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me;
they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
There isn’t an attack so brutal, so vicious as one that comes from a lying tongue. Surely our own legitimate faults are bad enough but to be painted with deceitful tongue deepens the injury of the accusation.
3 With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.
Hatred drives this besetting enemy who closes in strategically. David is innocent. The attacker has no cause for the assault, but that does not stop him. David is very cognizant of his faults. He has thoroughly searched his heart and knows that evil is being returned for good he has done, not for evil. He has been a friend but they have reviled his kind gestures and spurned his friendship.
4 In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.
5 They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
David is a mighty man of war. He is famous throughout his life for rolling heads. He is capable and courageous and calculating. Yet here we see him brandishing a very different weapon than his attackers – the weapon of prayer. Whatever you are known as, may you be, more importantly known as a person of prayer. He will fight this battle on his knees.
6 Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy; let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him.
8 May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.
9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord, that he may blot out their name from the earth.
David rains down curses upon his enemy, his parents and their children as was the culture then. A vile man was known to come from vile roots and to produce vile fruit. Better to wipe them all out for one was as all. But note, yet again, that David who could easily have taken this simple murderous task asked that God would undertake it and even use others to do the dirty work – another accuser, a creditor; he would not soil his hands with this blood.
16 For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17 He loved to pronounce a curse— may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing— may it be far from him.
18 He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil.
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him.
20 May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.
The person that David curses has a deep-rooted history of depravity. He routinely not only hounds the poor, the needy and the brokenhearted, but he does so to their death. This is not just a one-time offender. He wears his offense like a garment and is known for it. He is wicked through and through – from the marrow of his bones to the outer garment he dons.
May we be as David in his dealings with the evil ones we oppose us. Especially then may we stand upon our identity as men and women of praise; men and women of prayer. May we trust in our God so deeply and know with full confidence that he will be our defense. His faithfulness, as we saw in Psalm 108 means firmness, reliability, true, trustworthiness. He will save us and help us with his right hand.