Psalm 109:26–27 (ESV) … “Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! Let them know that this is your hand; you, O Lord, have done it!”
Although Psalm 109 is filled with terrible curses, David begins mildly enough, merely asking God not to remain silent, which means to act against his foes (vv. 1–5). Why should God act? David’s enemies’ words are troubling David. These men speak against him “with lying tongues” and with “words of hatred” (vv. 2–3). It is by what they say that they repay “evil for good” and “hatred” for “friendship” (v. 5). These opening verses caused Martin Luther to see the psalm as being directed almost entirely “against those who disparage another’s reputation.”
None of this enemy problem should be new or surprising for those who have studied David’s other psalms. As I have pointed out several times earlier, there is hardly a psalm by David that does not refer to his enemies. He had many of them. Many of these psalms indicate that what David feared most was how his enemies were using words against him. We do not usually take words with great seriousness. “Sticks and stone.…” we say, but people can hurt other people by words. In fact, words have probably done more serious and lasting damage to other people than any amount of specifically evil acts or violence. David knew this danger and so asked God for protection from lies, innuendo, slander, and false accusations.
What is David’s reaction to such verbal assault? The key to his attitude is verse 4, which says, “But I am a man of prayer.” The Hebrew is more abrupt and therefore even stronger. It says literally, “But I prayer.” That is, “I am all prayer or characterized by prayer. While my enemies are uttering false words about me to other people, trying to do me harm, I am speaking to God. I am praying to God always.”
Is that how you and I respond when people say something bad about us? Are we women and men of prayer? Do we see everything that happens in light of God’s sovereignty over life and thus bring everything to God and leave it there as the apostle Paul describes in Philippians 4:6–7 and 12?
The final grounds for appeal (vv. 26–29) is God’s love and what God is both willing and able to do to help the psalmist. David’s enemies may curse, but God, who loves to bless his people, will be sure to bless them and put their accusers to shame (vv. 28–29).