Our psalmist has been suffering greatly for some time. He is disgusted at those who are accusing him of evil deeds. He calls out for God to get them.
I’m wondering if God approved of this prayer. Jesus tells us to pray for those who despitefully use you and I don’t think He meant to pray horrible things befall them either. Jesus said to bless those who persecute you for His name’s sake. If ANYONE had the right to want evil paid back with evil it would have been Jesus. But He asked God to forgive them all. Maybe it has something to do with Old Testament judgment and New Testament grace.
The psalmist sounds as if he is completely fed up with whomever he is talking to God about. I’m betting he has tried every other way he can think of to solve the situation. Some things he might have tried are talking to those who started this smear campaign against him, ignoring them, reaching out in love to them, even praying good things for them. None of his efforts had the desired effect of stopping their campaign of hate. It’s time to turn it back on them.
I have a friend who is dealing with someone like this. It is his ex-wife. She is spiteful and entrenched in evil. She is bound and determined to see him ruined, in jail, and alienated from their daughter. He has been trying to react to her in love or at least in a neutral tone. ALL his efforts fall flat in trying to change the hatred radiating off of her. At one point I felt led to tell him to read Psalm 64. It speaks of asking God to visit the evil they intend for the psalmist back on themselves. As harsh as this sounds, King David prayed this. My friend was shocked by King David’s tone. I think today’s reading would floor him!
My friend and I talked about this form of prayer. I believe if you are using this kind of prayer and asking God to do whatever He has to do to bring them to Himself, then it is probably okay. But if you are making this kind of prayer out of a vengeful heart then you are in sin as well. “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them” (Deuteronomy 32:35). God WILL bring about their ‘reward’ in HIS time. And this was something that was given to the people in the Old Testament.
So, back to my original question; Is this a prayer that God approved of? Since it is included in His word I say most likely He did/does. I would be afraid to pray that prayer myself because I don’t know who I might have offended and inspired them to pray this kind of prayer against me. I would also be afraid that God would visit upon me the justly wrath I have earned instead of His loving kindness.
While I was thinking on this the Spirit spoke to me and told me that if this is what is in my heart then I need to pour it out to God. Be truthful with Him regarding your own heart. That is the place where healing can begin for you too. Holding this much anger and bitterness in doesn’t leave room for His love and redeeming work on me. I have to give Him ALL my pain before there is space for my heart to grow. Through being honest with Him He can teach me more about forgiveness. I can trust Him to handle the situation and I can begin working on my own heart.
Pour out your heart to God. NOTHING you can say will shock Him or scare Him off. Even Elijah cried, “Not fair!” to the Lord. He KNOWS our pain and is ready to help us with it. And to help us turn loose of it too. I wonder if that is what David did after completing this psalm.
Father God, I count myself very fortunate because of the small number of people in my life that have crossed into this kind of territory. Your hands have protected me is SO many situations and worked favor for me in the presence of those who would call me an enemy.
For the few who have stood against me, You have protected me from their ‘arrows.’ Thank You for Your protection. I trust You to work out the appropriate consequences for the one who remains in this life. I belong in Your hands and so do they. Have Your will Father.