1 O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent,
2 for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
3 With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.
4 In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.
5 They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship.
6 Appoint an evil man to oppose him; let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him.
8 May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.
9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD; may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the LORD, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
16 For he never thought of doing a kindness but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17 He loved to pronounce a curse may it come on him; he found no pleasure in blessing may it be far from him.
18 He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil.
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him, like a belt tied forever around him.
20 May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.
21 But you, O Sovereign LORD, deal well with me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow; I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, O LORD my God; save me in accordance with your love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O LORD, have done it.
28 They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame, but your servant will rejoice.
29 My accusers will be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.
As I read this psalm of David, I look back to the time that he was running from Saul. At this time in his life, he was in running from the law of the land and being hunted down as a criminal. During this time of running from Saul his name and reputation was being destroyed by Saul. The times of I Samuel seventeen and eighteen when David was the hero, the one who slew Goliath, the captain of a thousand men, the one that slew ten thousand were now history. It was not because of something evil that David had done, but the envy that Saul had of David. Just like Cain who slew Abel because Abel’s sacrifice was accepted by God and Cain’s was not, Saul desired to slay David because God’s favor was on David and not Saul. The same can be said of Christ as he walked on this earth two thousand years ago. As you read the verses above you can see a picture of Christ as he was accused by the religious leaders of wrongs he never did. The accusers in this verse have the same nature of Satan (who is the Great Accuser) in them.
As I was reading today (February 22, 2008) in My Utmost for His Highest) Oswald Chambers writes “Our greatest fear is not that we will be damned, but that somehow Jesus Christ will be defeated. Also, our fear is that the very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men— will not win out in the end and will represent an unattainable goal for us.”
Verse 21 is a verse that will conquer this fear for the believer, and it is this truth: “It is out of his goodness that we are delivered and not our righteousness; to him belongs the praise and glory for this great salvation.” So how must we approach those closest to us when, like David, they accuse us falsely and attach us. David gives the answer on how to approach these times in verse 4 “but I am a man of prayer”. Believe me it is hard when someone very close to you turns on you and seeks to destroy you and your reputation. First you want to fight back and take the matters into our hands. However, if your desire is to be Christ-like then you soon discover and realized that this is an issue that only God can handle so you turn to him in prayer and remember what that we are to be Christ-like in everything we do. The very things our Lord stood for— love, justice, forgiveness, and kindness among men will someday be in place and we who follow him will reign with him, so wait on his return both in prayer and staying in his word.
As I read this psalm of David, I can picture the inward hurt that must have been in his heart. The cry for justice is alive in this psalm, however there is also a cry to God from David to deliver him from those that are attaching him. We as believers also face the same issues and struggles that David faced as we go about our daily routines. We see God’s loving kindness, his goodness, his mercies, and his forgiveness is always there for us as well as others to enjoy; however, it does come with a price. That price is the realization that our way is wrong, and we need to repent and turn from our evil way to God’s way. This is a price that many do not want to pay. Vengeance (the repayment of evil to those that did evil to us) is something that we must leave in God’s hand. The desires that David outlines in this chapter:
appoint an evil man to oppose him
let an accuser stand at his right hand
when he is tried, let him be found guilty
may his prayers condemn him.
may his days be few
may another take his place of leadership.
may his children be fatherless
may 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
may no one take pity on his fatherless children.
may his descendants be cut off
may 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
may the memory of them be cut off from the earth.
may the curse he pronounce be upon him
may this curse be like a cloak wrapped about him
may it be like a belt tied forever around him.
may this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.
are justified, however they are for God to execute and not us.