Psalm 109 – Prayer For The Hurt
Psalm 109:1-31 NIV
O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent,
for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
Appoint an evil man to oppose him; let an accuser stand at his right hand.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him.
May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
May their sins always remain before the Lord, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted.
He loved to pronounce a curse – may it come on him; he found no pleasure in blessing – may it be far from him.
He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil.
May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him.
May this be the Lord's payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.
But you, O Sovereign Lord, deal well with me for your name's sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
I fade away like an evening shadow; I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt.
I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads.
Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with your love.
Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O Lord, have done it.
They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice.
My accusers will be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord; in the great throng I will praise him.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.
What would you do if you’ve been betrayed or accused of something you’ve not done? How would you feel if your accuser harms you out of fear and envy, and does it to benefit himself? What should you do if you’ve done everything to your best capacity, for the interest of others, and yet it is not appreciated?
We’ve felt unappreciated when people form wrong opinions about us. We’ve felt abandoned and misunderstood by some whom we used to trust, and it becomes hard to reconcile with them after we’ve been hurt by them. This is a psalm of David. He helped his people and King Saul in the war against the Philistines. Yet Saul turned against him out of jealousy and fear for his position. How did David feel? And how did he pray to God?
David asked God whom he praised to “not remain silent” in the midst of his suffering under wicked and deceitful men. These men attacked him “without cause” and in return for his friendship accused him. In his words, these men “repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship."
David told God he is a man of prayer.
In the midst of severe afflictions by aggressors who were once his friends, David turned to prayer instead of direct confrontation with these people. That explains why he chose to run away from Saul and avoided killing Saul when he had the chance.
David was probably referring to King Saul. He had no intention of taking over Saul’s kingdom, God was his king, and that was enough for him. But Saul, out of jealousy, thought and accused David of harbouring intentions to takeover his kingdom.
David could not stop his anger and called down various curses on his aggressor... “appoint an evil man to oppose him”, “may his days be few”, “may his children be wandering beggars”, “may a creditor seize all he has”, etc.
These were David’s prayers, expressing to God all that he felt. He was real in his prayers and wrestled with his feelings of anger openly with God. He didn’t deny that he had such strong vengeful thoughts and told them to God. But it is important to note that when he had chances to take revenge on Saul, he spared Saul both times (1 Samuel 24 & 26).
Jesus said that we are to pray for our enemies, not curse them. David’s prayer here reflects his openness to God and how he dealt with his most negative feelings towards his enemies through prayer. It is because of his openness in prayer that he could change his feelings and become sympathetic towards his enemies, which he showed in action. We are not to imitate the cursing of our enemies. Instead, we imitate David’s realness in bringing our ugliest struggles and thoughts to God in prayer. And we change through our prayers.
After calling curses down on his aggressors, David prayed to God, “... deal well with me... deliver me.” As his heart was wounded within him, he expressed to God that he was “poor and needy”.
When I struggled with hatred towards my aggressors, I felt poor and needy too. I knew it was wrong to curse my enemies, yet I couldn’t help having those evil thoughts. I have to remember that Jesus Christ died on the cross because of my sins.
Vs. 23- 25
David expressed to God that he felt he was fading away, and “shaken off like a locust”. He felt worthless to the people he had once been useful to. He felt abandon by those he trusted before. He was physically weak and his body “thin and gaunt” from fasting too. His accusers continued to scorn him, making him feel unworthy.
David called for God to save him “in accordance with your (God’s) love.” He wanted his accusers to know that it was God who saved him. Despite whatever they did to him, God will bless him and he will rejoice. They will be “wrapped in shame”. At the end, we who trust in God will rejoice for He will lift us up despite all the wrongs that others may do to us.
David praised God in advance for the coming victory that God will give him. He trusted God will be at his right hand to “save his life from those who condemn him.”
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.