Tuesday, January 09, 2024

2024.01.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 109:1–15

Read Psalm 109:1–15

Questions from the Scripture text: Into whose hands was this Psalm entrusted (superscript)? Of whom was this Psalm? What is his opening plea (Psalm 109:1a)? What does he call God (verse 1b)? Who most definitely have not been silent (Psalm 109:2)? What have they used their mouths to do (Psalm 109:3)? In return for what (Psalm 109:4a, Psalm 109:5)? What is David using his mouth to do (Psalm 109:4b)? What does the wicked deserve (Psalm 109:6a)? Whom does David pray to have at the wicked’s right hand (verse 6b)? What does David pray would be the outcome in Psalm 109:7a? What else does he pray against the wicked’s own praying in verse 7b (cf. Isaiah 1:15)? What does David, in his office, pray against the wicked, in his office (Psalm 109:8)? What does he pray against the wicked in his family relations (Psalm 109:9)? What does he pray against his offspring (Psalm 109:10Psalm 109:12-13; as opposed to what the righteous hope, everlastingly, for their offspring)? What does he pray against the fruitfulness of his labor (Psalm 109:11)? What covenant blessing, that the righteous hope for, do Psalm 109:14-15 pray against the wicked? 

What can believers pray and sing, when they are taking the brunt of the world’s opposition to Christ? Psalm 109:1–15 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these fifteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when believers are taking the brunt of the world’s opposition to Christ, they may pray against the haters of Christ the very opposite of the blessing that comes to those who trust in Him. 

Battle of speech. David’s enemies’ weapon of choice is the deceitful mouth (Psalm 109:2a–b) and lying tongue (verse 2c). It is with words that they hate and fight (Psalm 109:3). But the speech of Another is David’s hope, so the great plea in Psalm 109:1a is “do not keep silent!” He is praying not that God would take a reflexive vengeance in hasty wrath like that of a man, but that the Righteous Judge would open His mouth and judge justly (Psalm 109:7).

And David, also, employs his mouth. He habitually opens his mouth in praise (Psalm 109:1b). What a blessing this is: that when we come to the Lord in our trouble, we are coming to the God Whom we are constantly praising! I hope that you know Him as the “God of your praise.” He also uses his mouth in prayer (Psalm 109:4b). And gives his prayer, under the inspiration of the Spirit, into the hands of the Choir Master (superscript) for us to pray. Let us take care what we do with our mouths; what comes out of them is profoundly significant (cf. James 3:8–10). 

But should we talk like this? In the imprecatory (cursing) Psalms, it is important to remember that we pray and sing them in our union with Jesus. There are many sorts of Psalms that we can only sing in union with Christ, and this is certainly one of them. In fact, this Psalm should wake us up to what is really happening when believers are attacked. So, should we talk like this? YES! But only in this way.

If we realize what is happening when a believer is attacked, we would be so careful of our hearts and mouths with respect to our brothers and sisters. And if we realize it in connection with when we are attacked, how gladly we would leave vengeance and judgment to the Lord (cf. James 1:19–20; Romans 12:19–21). Indeed, knowing that the Spirit has put such a song in our mouths about the Lord’s own vengeance, we are freed from taking ours and can turn our hearts instead to loving our enemy and doing him good.

Singing and praying this Psalm in union with Christ. Singing and praying this Psalm in union with Christ is more natural, when we remember whom the Spirit first made to sing and pray it. David is YHWH’s anointed king, imitating YHWH’s character with love even to his enemies (Psalm 109:4a, Psalm 109:5). To attack him (Psalm 109:3) is to attack Christ, to attack YHWH (cf. Psalm 2:1–3). 

But this is not reserved for kings. Scripture has made it plain that all believers are saved by being united to Christ. So, the song is sent to the Chief Musician, for the priestly choir to lead the people as a whole in singing, in their corporate union with Christ. Now, the Lord Jesus applies this not only corporately (cf. Acts 9:4), but personally, even to the least individual (cf. Matthew 25:34–46). 

We mustn’t sing in a manner as if God’s vengeance against the wicked is merely for our own sake, or that this vengeance is according to our character. His vengeance is for His Name’s sake, for Christ’s sake, and according to His own character. As we sing and pray, let us not give in to the heat of our flesh against men, but let us embrace the honor and vindication of Christ, and of us as belonging to Him and united to Him.

Curses that are opposite the blessing that is in Christ. Psalm 109:8 prays for the exact opposite of the blessing that belonged to David in Christ: an office that would last forever. The curses in Psalm 109:9-15 are almost an exact reverse of the blessings of Psalm 128. Happy, fruitful wife and children (Psalm 109:9Psalm 109:10Psalm 109:12; cp. Psalm 128:3). Enjoyment of his own fruitful labor (Psalm 109:11; cp. Psalm 128:2). Ongoing generations of covenant blessing (Psalm 109:13; cp. Psalm 128:6a). Redemption, forgiveness, and blessing for his people, from whom he came (Psalm 109:14-15; cp. Psalm 128:5, Psalm 128:6b). 

Blessed are all who fear YHWH (cf. Psalm 128:1), who kiss the Son and trust in Him (Psalm 2:12). But the curses that will come on the wicked who resist Him and His Christ (including and especially who attack His people) are exactly opposite these blessings. Let us marvel at His justice, let us beware provoking Him by attacking His people, let us take comfort from His identifying with and avenging us, and let us love our enemies to leave room for His wrath.

What is the right way for you to think and pray and sing this Psalm? What wrong way must you watch against singing and praying it? Whom do you need to be careful not to attack? How does singing something like this actually help you love your enemy?

Sample prayer:  God, Your Messiah and Your people are continually rejected and attacked in this world. Open Your mouth against Your enemies and ours. Grant that Your Spirit would open our mouths in prayer and in praise. And open Your mouth to us in Your Word read, sung, prayed, and preached. We leave all vengeance to You. Do not keep silent, O God of our praise! Hear us and address us in Your worship, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP109A “God of My Praise” or TPH389 “Great God, What Do I See and Hear!”

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