Read: Psalm 109:22 – 25; Genesis 4:6
The imprecations of Psalm 109 are very harsh and troubling if we consider the psalm an example for prayer. Calvin, in his commentary on the Psalm, wrote that it was important to remember that David was not motivated by an “immoderate carnal propensity, ” being inflamed by a “spirit of malignity.” He was not an anger-filled man looking for a target against which to vent his anger.
Think About It: How did David describe himself in Psalm 109:22 – 25?
Does he sound in that description like an angry man? What did God ask Cain in Genesis 4:6? What am I angry about? Is my anger righteous?
Prayer: For the Lord to preserve me from a spirit of malignity.
Read: 1 Samuel 22:9 – 22; Psalm 52
Calvin wrote in his commentary on Psalm 109 that David’s imprecations were not motivated by zeal without knowledge. He did not impute to his enemies a motivation they did not actually possess. The specific enemy was probably Doeg, who along with other powerful men, aligned himself with Saul against David. Psalm 52 also applies to Doeg.
Think About It: Strictly speaking, Doeg told the truth to Saul. What was his motivation in speaking the truth? What were the specific crimes Doeg committed? If Doeg was one of the people David had in mind in Psalm 109, does it make the imprecations more understandable?
Prayer: For the Lord to preserve me from a zeal that is without knowledge.
Read: 1 Samuel 17:26, 36; 24: 6 – 10; 2 Samuel 16:5 – 13; 19:21 – 23
David was not influenced by private, personal considerations – i.e., to gratify a spiteful propensity. David was wronged, but of greater importance was that God was wronged because of the merciless, murderous acts of Doeg. David showed restraint when it came to personal affronts.
Think About It: In the scripture references for today, what is it that aroused David’s anger? What evidence is there that David was willing to bear personal insults without seeking revenge?
Prayer: Lord, preserve me from spiteful propensities.
Read: Psalm 109:2 – 5; 16 – 18
The specific actions of the wicked person(s) that caused David to call down his fierce imprecations are recorded in Psalm 109:2 – 5 and 16 – 18. They spoke lies, they surrounded David with hateful words, they fought against him without cause, they returned evil for good and hatred for love. They did not show mercy, they persecuted the poor and needy, they murdered the broken-hearted, they loved cursing and hated blessing.
Think About It: Before I dare call down imprecations on those who do such things, there are many things to consider. Is there some truth in what they say? Have I given cause for offense? Have I truly shown them love and done good to them? Have I shown mercy? Have I helped the poor? Have I bound up the broken-hearted? Have I loved blessing and hated cursing?
Prayer: Lord, help me to be slow to be angry lest I call down imprecations on myself.
Read: Psalm 109:6 – 15, 28 – 29; Acts 1:20
The imprecations of Psalm 109 are extremely harsh. These imprecations portray the potential fate of the unrepentant sinner. Peter quoted from this psalm in reference to Judas (Acts 1:20), which indicates that the imprecations present a picture of the fate of the hardened sinner.
Think About It: Make a list of the imprecations. What feels to me like the worst of them? Why?
Prayer: Thank God that none of these terrible things awaits me because forgiveness of sins is possible through the shed blood of Christ.
Read: Psalm 109:1, 21, 26 – 31
Besides praying imprecations on his enemies, David also prayed for himself in Psalm 109. These requests for himself are portions of the psalm we can emulate without reservation.
Think About It: Make a list of the requests David made on his own behalf in the references for today from Psalm 109. Of these requests, which is closest to my heart right now? In Psalm 109:30 – 31, what did David promise to God? How could I give “praise to God among the multitude”?
Prayer: Lord, help me in such a way that You get all the glory.
Read: Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; Matthew 5:43 – 48, 18:21 – 22; 2 Thessalonians 1:6
In light of Jesus’ example (and Stephen’s example) and the obligation we have to forgive our brothers and love our enemies, Psalm 109 is more useful as a solemn warning of the fate of the unrepentant than as an example for prayer– except as a reminder to pray when we are in trouble.
Think About It: However, what about 2 Thessalonians 1:6?
Prayer: For the grace to forgive and to love those who hate me.