Read: Psalm 140; Psalm 52; John 1:10 – 11
Psalm 140 belongs to David’s fugitive years, when Saul was hunting him. The psalm has multiple application: as a symbol of the Jews in exile, and therefore also of the church in a hostile world; as a model of prayer for the afflicted believer; as a Messianic psalm. During his fugitive years, David knew he was God’s anointed king, yet his own people rejected him and Saul sought to kill him.
Think About It: What are some of the parallels between David and Jesus Christ?
Prayer: For strength to stand firm in a hostile world.
Read: Psalm 140:1, 4; 1 Samuel 22:9 – 20
Malbim, a brilliant 19th century eastern European Rabbi, differentiated between the “wicked man” and the “man of violence.” The wicked man resorts to evil as a means to an end. He prefers not to be identified with evil, but he will hypocritically stoop to evil to achieve his goals. The man of violence enjoys evil and violence for its own sake; when he commits violence and causes pain openly, he enjoys it even more.
Think About It: Who is more dangerous — the wicked man, or the man of violence? The evil thoughts of the wicked man include imputing evil plans to others — as Saul did to the priests and Nob, and to David. What are some historical examples of violence that arises from imputing evil plans to others? What does 2 Corinthians 10:5 say about thought life? Do I bring my thoughts into submission to Christ?
Prayer: Lord, help me to take every thought captive to obey You.
Read: Psalm 140:3 – 5; 1 Samuel 23:19 – 20; James 3:1 – 13
Evil men not only think evil, they speak evil by slandering, by spreading lies, and by laying traps for the righteous.
Think About It: What are some biblical examples of evil people who slandered or set traps for the righteous? How did it turn out for both the evil people and for the righteous? What does that tell me about situations where I find myself slandered, or surrounded by traps?
Prayer: For the wisdom and grace to trust myself to God when I am slandered or find myself trapped.
Read: Psalm 140:6; Isaiah 41:1 – 14; 1 John 3:22; 5:14 – 15; Romans 8:34
David’s affirmation in Psalm 140:6, “You are my God,” was implicitly an affirmation that God was His only hope for deliverance from evil and violent men. There is no other God but the Lord, and David turned to no one else but God. He pleaded for God to hear His prayer.
Think About It: Why can I be confident that God will hear my prayers? Is my first response when I find myself in trouble to worry, or to pray?
Prayer: Lord, help me to remember to have no anxiety, but to bring everything to you in prayer, with thanksgiving, because You hear and answer.
Read: Psalm 140:7; Ephesians 6:10 – 18
In Psalm 140:7 David affirmed, “You are the strength of my salvation.” God’s protection was as real and effective to him as a helmet in the day of battle.
Think About It: Read through Ephesians 6:10 – 18. What has God provided for me for my protection? Have I put on the whole armor of God?
Prayer: For strength to stand in the evil day; for protection from the attacks of the evil one.
Read: Psalm 140:8 – 11; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; 2 Thessalonians 1:5 – 10
David prayed against the wicked and violent in Psalm 140:8 – 11. His prayer is one example of “imprecatory” prayer in the Psalms, which many people find difficult to understand, particularly in the light of Jesus’ example and His command that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Think About It: What are some possible positive aspects of imprecatory prayer?
What, specifically, did David ask for God to do to the wicked in Psalm 140:8 – 11? Does God actually do things like that to people? Was David planning to avenge himself on the wicked, or leaving them in God’s hands? Am I willing to leave the wicked in God’s hands?
Prayer: For the grace to forgive as I have been forgiven; for the faith to leave vengeance to Him to whom it belongs.
Read: Psalm 140:12 – 13; Isaiah 25:8; Philippians 3:9; Revelation 20:6 – 10; 21:4
The 16th century Italian Rabbi Sforno taught that Psalm 140 verses 12 – 13 are prophetic of the Messiah’s triumph over the enemies of Israel at the defeat of Gog and Magog. Rabbi Sforno defined the “upright” of Psalm 140:13 as those who perfect their character through study of Torah, until every fiber of their being is permeated with its values and truths.
Think About It: How must a Christian understanding of the “righteous” and “upright” differ from the teaching of Sforno (see Romans 3:23, Titus 3:5, Philippians 3:9)? How can I be sure that God will deliver me?
Prayer: Praise God for the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, and the assurance of salvation by grace through faith.