Psalm 109

Psalm 109

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Help Me, O Lord My God

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

109   Be not silent, O God of my praise!
  For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
    speaking against me with lying tongues.
  They encircle me with words of hate,
    and attack me without cause.
  In return for my love they accuse me,
    but I give myself to prayer.
  So they reward me evil for good,
    and hatred for my love.
  Appoint a wicked man against him;
    let an accuser stand at his right hand.
  When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
    let his prayer be counted as sin!
  May his days be few;
    may another take his office!
  May his children be fatherless
    and his wife a widow!
  May his children wander about and beg,
    seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
  May the creditor seize all that he has;
    may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
  Let there be none to extend kindness to him,
    nor any to pity his fatherless children!
  May his posterity be cut off;
    may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
  May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD,
    and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
  Let them be before the LORD continually,
    that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!
  For he did not remember to show kindness,
    but pursued the poor and needy
    and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
  He loved to curse; let curses come upon him!
    He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
  He clothed himself with cursing as his coat;
    may it soak into his body like water,
    like oil into his bones!
  May it be like a garment that he wraps around him,
    like a belt that he puts on every day!
  May this be the reward of my accusers from the LORD,
    of those who speak evil against my life!
  But you, O GOD my Lord,
    deal on my behalf for your name’s sake;
    because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!
  For I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is stricken within me.
  I am gone like a shadow at evening;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
  My knees are weak through fasting;
    my body has become gaunt, with no fat.
  I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they wag their heads.
  Help me, O LORD my God!
    Save me according to your steadfast love!
  Let them know that this is your hand;
    you, O LORD, have done it!
  Let them curse, but you will bless!
    They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad!
  May my accusers be clothed with dishonor;
    may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a cloak!
  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.

(ESV)


Psalm 109 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Oh God, do not remain silent.

David holds righteous indignation against those who are liars and slanderers.  These are people driven by their pride and arrogance, not led of God in one form (although giving the impression they are).  They act like friends but are enemies through their actions and words.  They have come against him in schemes and tactics that are from the enemy of his soul.

Oh God, do not remain silent.

David’s prayer is for God to rise up and bring about the consequences to those who are divisive and hurtful.  Yes, he asks many bold things to take place to these instigators of trouble.  But note he begins with prayer.  It is the proper response.  Vengeance and justice are God’s.  He would take nothing into his own hands to see the result due these enemies.  David was also confident that when God dealt with them it would be that shock and awe moment of God delivering.

“David did nothing else but pray.  He became prayer as they became malice.  This was his answer to his enemies.  He appealed from men and their injustice to the Judge of all the earth, who must do right.”

Charles Spurgeon

This prayer was not for relief but for victory.  God’s victory for His name’s sake.  A name in the days of old was more than just what people were called by.  It was a representation of character and reputation.  His plea, “Deal well with me for your name’s sake out of the goodness of your love, deliver me” was calling upon God to live up to His name.  It was and is a character of love and mercy.

Like the woman who approached Jesus with a demon-possessed daughter (Matthew 15:21-25), he asked for help.  Like her centuries later, he asked for God’s mercy not based on what was deserved.

Yet, in the end, this was not just about being rid of these who were causing such trouble.  David’s appeal was that even these enemies would know when the dust settled that this rescue was from God’s hand.  God had done it.  David cries out for the glory of God to be shown through how He dealt with the people bent on evil.  These would be clothed with shame, wearing their disgrace like a mantle.

Oh God, do not remain silent.

The timing of God is always critical.  We must be people in prayer first when dealing with those who are coming against us.  We must be in tune in our relationship to know when to be quiet and yes, finally when to act.  It is God’s timing in all of this.  For God’s timing is what brings about results of people exposing who they really are but far more importantly, timing brings about the glory of such a horrific situation to Him.

Pray boldly.  Ask for the timing to be right.  Plead for God to not remain silent.  Act and respond when He directs.  Then watch what He does for the people of His.


Psalm 109 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

What do we make of this prayer? On the surface, it appears to be vindictive, hateful, and even potentially sinful! Look at the Good News Translation of the psalmist’s emotions.

Psa 109:7 May he be tried and found guilty; may even his prayer be considered a crime!
Psa 109:8 May his life soon be ended; may someone else take his job!
Psa 109:9 May his children become orphans, and his wife a widow!
Psa 109:10 May his children be homeless beggars; may they be driven from the ruins they live in!
Psa 109:11 May his creditors take away all his property, and may strangers get everything he worked for.
Psa 109:12 May no one ever be kind to him or care for the orphans he leaves behind.
Psa 109:13 May all his descendants die, and may his name be forgotten in the next generation.

Those of us under the New Covenant may recoil… and with good reason. We have been paid for under the blood of Jesus. The same Jesus who came for sinners just like this prayer describes. The same Jesus who called us to love our neighbor and even our enemies! Of course, we read these harsh words and wonder, is the Bible prescribing these words, or using them as Exhibit A of how NOT to pray?

Let’s first consider that most all of us have thought or even prayed these words over a person in our lives. There is nothing wrong with being honest before God. If we are being brutally honest with God in prayer, we have already chosen nonviolence just like the psalmist. Instead of responding to his enemies’ accusations, he prays for them. So, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with honest prayer.

On the other side, since we are human, we are prone to being vengeful. In his book on the Psalms, theology professor David McCann writes this…

“If we are honest, we must conclude that Psalm 109 teaches us about ourselves. We are vengeful creatures. I recently read a book to my five-year-old daughter, and her response illustrates the point. The book uses bears as characters but intends to address children’s concerns. In this case, one bear cub had mistreated and excluded another bear cub, whose feelings were hurt. Eventually the perpetrator recognized her misdeeds and changed her ways. The book ends as the offending cub concludes that, “I’ve learned my lesson.” My daughter, however, was not content to let the book end that way. She wanted to continue the story to include an episode where the perpetrator of exclusion would suffer the exclusion she had inflicted upon another. We are vengeful creatures.”

David McCann

We absolutely must keep these two in balance. It is true that we should speak out against injustice, violence, and discrimination. God is a God of justice and truth. However, it is also true that there is a fine line between righteous anger and sinful action. This is why we must be absolutely dialed in with the Holy Spirit in situations like this. Many times, if we start with a prayer – even when we are angry – God will begin to change our heart and reveal His truth within the prayer. He will affirm, guide, or redirect and then it is up to us to follow through.

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