February 25, 2020 – Tuesday
Psalm 109:14-20 NKJV
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
And let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be continually before the Lord,
That He may cut off the memory of them from the earth;
16 Because he did not remember to show mercy,
But persecuted the poor and needy man,
That he might even slay the broken in heart.
17 As he loved cursing, so let it come to him;
As he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him.
18 As he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment,
So let it enter his body like water,
And like oil into his bones.
19 Let it be to him like the garment which covers him,
And for a belt with which he girds himself continually.
20 Let this be the Lord’s reward to my accusers,
And to those who speak evil against my person.
First I recommend you read this Psalm in its entirety, it is only 31 verses long. For many it is a very troubling, even disturbing, Psalm because of David calling down numerous imprecations or curses from God on his wicked, lying, hateful enemies who have returned evil for good as noted in these early verses
1 Do not keep silent, O God of my praise!
2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful have opened against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3 They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause.
4 In return for my love they are my accusers, but I give myself to prayer.
5 Thus they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
F.G. Hibbard, writing on this Psalm in 1856 was moved to share the following: I cannot forbear the following little incident that occurred the other morning at family worship. I happened to be reading one of the imprecatory psalms, and as I paused to remark, my little boy, a lad of ten years, asked with some earnestness: “Father, do you think it right for a good man to pray for the destruction of his enemies like that?” and at the same time referred me to Christ as praying for his enemies. I paused a moment to know how to shape the reply so as to fully meet and satisfy his enquiry, and then said, “My son, if an assassin should enter the house by night, and murder your mother, and then escape, and the sheriff and citizens were all out in pursuit, trying to catch him, would you not pray to God that they might succeed and arrest him, and that he might be brought to justice?” “Oh, yes!” said he, “but I never saw it so before. I did not know that that was the meaning of these Psalms.” “Yes”, said I, “my son, the men against whom David plays were bloody men, men of falsehood and crime, enemies to the peace of society, seeking his own life, and unless they were arrested and their wicked devices defeated, many innocent persons must suffer.” The explanation perfectly satisfied his mind.
Personally I prefer David Guzik’s comments on this particular Psalm: This is thought to be the strongest of what are known as the imprecatory psalms, David’s songs that call down curses upon his enemies. It is important to remember that these are prayers, committing vengeance unto God. With the greater revelation of grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ, we understand that we are to pray for the good of our enemies, and not for their ruin. Yet, we remind ourselves that David refused to act upon these curses; he left vengeance up to God. This is especially relevant regarding David, who knew what it was to take life with the sword. When David withheld vengeance, it was because he chose to, not because he lacked the opportunity, skill, or courage. (emphasis added)
There was good reason for David to curse his enemies for they not only came after him, but (as noted in verse sixteen) did not remember to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy as well going so far as to even slay the broken in heart. Then in the next two verses we discover his enemies loved cursing and did not delight in blessing instead he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment.
I could end here, but I was moved by Benson’s Commentary on verse sixteen alone as he saw Jesus in this Psalm of David when he wrote: Because he remembered not — “The crime which brought upon its perpetrators all the above-mentioned judgments and calamities, is here pointed out too plainly to be mistaken. They remembered not to show mercy — To Him who showed it to all the world; they persecuted Him who for our sakes became poor; they betrayed and murdered the lowly and afflicted Jesus, whose heart was broken with sorrow for their sins, and with a sense of the punishment due to them.”
If this is indeed about David, then in a very real sense this was about David practicing his faith as he was not going to exact vengeance on his enemies, but leave vengeance up to his God. If this is also about Jesus as Benson’s Commentary indicates, it reflects the horrible judgment that awaits those who remain enemies of God and continue to refuse His wonderful gift of mercy to the very end.
Knowing His mercy, it still remains for us to pray for our enemies as Jesus has directed us to do remembering while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton