Psalm 109: Encircled with Words of Hate
May 16, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
What do you do when people lie about you, deceive you, turn your words into weapons against you, and generally attack and betray you? What is a Christian to do in such situations? Our Lord Jesus teaches us that we are to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.” All well and good—hard enough to achieve—but what of our feelings and of our wrestling with doubt and difficulties internally? Where do we turn when we are angry beyond words or reason; to whom may we utter the words in the dark that we dare not utter in the light of day?
Psalms like this one give us an example of using the intimacy of our relationship to God to tell God exactly how we feel. Does David here step over the line at times in this expression of his anger against those who have betrayed him? Perhaps. But then David, as king of God’s people, was acutely conscious of the relationship between his role and the honor of God. If any wonder whether David as a personality was given to venting and easy recriminations, then merely reflect on the years he spent in the wilderness. And how he did not dare touch the anointed Saul, his enemy, despite three times having him at his mercy.
No, David is not a naturally angry or vengeful person. But he understands that those who were seeking to undermine him—as the king of God’s people—had a bigger rebellion in mind: undermining the rule of God himself as that was expressed through David.
And, here again in this psalm, David also shows the “theo-therapy” that the Psalms offer to us. Take those doubts, those fears, that anger, that desire for vengeance, and bring it all to God. Yes, perhaps some of it is sinful; well, then, confess your sins as you confess your anger. Be angry, and sin not. Do not act on unrighteous anger, for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. And by the end, you may be able to say as David did: “With my mouth I will give great praise to the Lord…For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save him from those who condemn his soul to death” (109:31).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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