Responding to Persecution

Scripture: Psalm 109:17, ‘He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!’

 

Observations: Psalm 109 is one of those difficult psalms that make us cringe when we read it. Scholars call it an imprecatory psalm, or a psalm of cursing, where the writer curses his enemy. The psalmist starts off with his accusation, ‘they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. (v5)’ And so he asks God to destroy him and his family (v6-15). Just reading these first 15 verses, the psalmist comes across as vindictive, but when you get to verse 16 you see something else – justice. The psalmist is asking God to treat his enemies the same way, they not only treated him, but everyone else. His enemies ‘loved to curse, so let curses come upon him.’ They ‘did not delight in blessing, so may blessing be far from him.’ In the New Testament Jesus talked about ‘with the measure you use it will be measured to you.’ And James says, ‘judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. (Jam 2:13)’

 

Application: Firstly, we need to apply this principle personally. Do you delight in blessing others? Often we wonder why we don’t experience God’s blessing, maybe it’s because we don’t bless others. How are you being a blessing to others? Remember, in the way you bless others you will be blessed. Secondly, how should we react to those who make our lives difficult? Should we curse them like they have cursed us i.e. use this same principle against them? Well we actually know the fate of those who are cursed by God and it’s not pretty. We know what God’s justice looks like, we’ve seen it on the cross, and the Bible describes what hell will be like. As people who have experienced the mercy of God, maybe we should be merciful towards those who deserve justice, in the hope that they will repent.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, it’s so easy to read this stuff and think it doesn’t apply to my life, but Lord, it challenges me to think of how I live and how I respond to difficult people and situations. Lord, help me not be like the ungodly, instead help me to bless other people like You have blessed me. Help me to be merciful towards others, as You have been merciful to me. Help me not to seek justice for myself, but may I extend Your grace to others. But Lord, I ask that You will protect Your people from those who persecute them. Lord, do not turn a blind eye to the injustice in this world, at the persecution of your children, but come and make all things new. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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