Psalm 109: 17 (King David’s accuser) loved to curse; let curses come on him. He did not like blessing; may it be far from him. 18 He clothed himself with cursing as his coat, may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones. 19 May it be like a garment that he wraps around himself, like a belt that he wears every day.” 20 May that be the reward of my accusers from the Lord, of those who speak evil against my life.
Man, David is upset. Someone really did him wrong, so he wants God to set things right – to punish and humiliate his former friend. As a king it would have been easy for David to take matters into his own hands and have his accuser put in prison or even perhaps put to death. But David doesn’t do that. Instead he asks the Lord to set things right, leaving it to God to determine the appropriate punishment. There is great wisdom in that.
There have been times in my life when I was sure someone had done me wrong, only to find out later I was misinformed. It was actually someone else. Or there were some extenuating circumstances I wasn’t aware of. Or I’ve come to find out the fault (at least in part) was actually mine, not theirs. In any case, my immediate reaction had been harsh and I’ve had to apologize. This is one of the potential pitfalls of the “ready, fire, aim” people like myself. We are prone to act now and think later. If you read the bible you will get the impression, as I have, that King David was this sort of person – act now, ask questions later.
So when I read this psalm I read poetic words describing harsh judgment, well deserved. But I also see wisdom in David, entrusting to God the consequences for the offender’s actions. David knows he is prone to act, or even over-react, in haste – but not God. God knows the ins and outs of what’s happened and will mete out justice accordingly. And because David trusts God, David can find peace.
Lord give us hearts to trust you to administer justice when we might be tempted to take matters into our own hands. Amen.