Psalm 109: Prayer of a persecuted one
In this psalm of David we read a prayer to God because he is persecuted:
"God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for hostile and deceitful is the mouth of those who accuse me ... they harass me with words of hatred, for no reason they fight me". Initially, he prays for his persecutors: "I pray for them, but my love invokes enmity, they repay good with evil, words of hatred are the thanks for my love" (vv 4-5).
But then he seeks God's help to bring revenge on them. He asks whether God wants to punish them, shorten their lives, not forgive their sins, have their possessions claimed by creditors. Finally, the psalmist asks whether God eventually wants to raise himself (as a believer) so that his attackers are ashamed. In itself that does correspond to what God has promised the believers. The Old Testament leaves something more in the middle or that happens in this life, but in the New Testament, that victory often takes place at the end, as we see in Revelation, for example. However, it always comes from God, and moreover, it is often the ultimate outcome and not that in the short term. If, after all, only the believer is blessed, and the spotter is punished, then 'faith' becomes almost self-evident, to make it better now.
Here we see that the psalmist reminds God, as it were, of his promise and begs Him to follow it now. It is pre-eminently a call for revenge:
"That he is found guilty and that his prayer does not reach God. That his days are counted, another takes over his office, that he leaves his children fatherless, his wife as a widow "(vv. 7-9).
Many today have trouble with such words and wonder how they can stand in the Scriptures. And it is from this psalm that Peter quotes when he speaks of Judas: how he received his deserving reward, and that another will now take his place:
"For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let His place become desolate, and there be no one. who lives on it, and: Another takes the respect that he had. "(Acts 1:20, NIV 51)
The first part comes from Psalm 69, also a psalm about Christ, which we looked at. The second part is a quote from this Psalm 109 (that the words are slightly different, is because Peter quotes the Greek translation of the Old Testament.) We recognize that Judas betrayed Jesus, but also see that Peter did so too. Judas thought his deed could not be forgiven; Peter repented and sought forgiveness and received it. We certainly would not apply the thoughts of vengeance that the psalmist asks God to the Lord Jesus, who even prayed for his enemies from the cross. Yet Peter sees in the death of Judas a fulfillment of this psalm.
Applied to Jesus
So we see how parts of this psalm are applicable to Jesus, or to the situation in which He finds himself, while other parts cannot beat Jesus. But that does not give us the freedom to take words out of context and only use what happens by chance and forget the rest, and that is not what Jesus and Peter do. They look at the relationship in the Psalm. What we see in this psalm are words that primarily refer to people in the Old Testament and their circumstances, but these are normal human circumstances. Christ has fully participated in our nature and ended up in the same situations. The difference, however, is that He did not fail. Indeed, we see how Jesus' love for people evokes enmity.
The fiercest rejection by the Jewish leaders comes when he heals people on the Sabbath. They saw in it a violation of the law while demonstrating that the law, in addition to imparting reverence for God, was precisely to support the weak. The Sabbath was meant as a day of doing nothing, but as a day to be engaged in God's business instead of your own activities. It was just the day to heal. However, Jesus feels sorry for those who are hostile to Him because He realizes that they are spiritually blind.
Jesus therefore also does not seek revenge on those who reject Him. When he quotes Isaac in the synagogue at Nazareth, he stops in the middle of a sentence. He deliberately does not quote the last piece ('a day of vengeance for our God'). Not because it would not come, but because He leaves it to God.
Perhaps the psalmist looked too much at the here and now, but he was also revealed much less of the future. We know that, and therefore have no reason whatsoever to wish the destruction of others, regardless of what they do to us. As Paul later wrote: "As far as it is in your power, do everything possible to live in peace with all people. Do not take vengeance, dear brothers, and sisters, but let God be your avenger, for it is written that the Lord says:
'It is up to me to take vengeance, I will repay.' But if your enemy is hungry, give him to eat, if he thirsts, then give him to drink ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. "(Romans 12: 18-21 ).
Christ has achieved that victory because He did not let such human feelings get the upper hand.
Thanks for reading.
Christ in the Psalms - Psalm 2
Christ in the Psalms - Psalm 22
Christ in the Psalms - Psalm 41
Christ in the Psalms - Psalm 69