One of the hard lessons of this present epidemic is the fact that it will come and go. The last couple of weeks saw a resurgence here in Arizona and with at least one known case among us (although his was during our original two-month quarantine and so very unlikely to have affected anyone else in the congregation). So, out of an abundance of caution we are not meeting for two Sunday’s. BUT we can still all be praying and reading God’s word, can’t we? Take advantage of this time to get closer to God!
When the Wicked are Winning
Have you ever had a discouraging day when it seems that the whole world has gone crazy and evil is winning no matter what? Oh, wait! Was that yesterday, the day before, and even today? I guess when it comes right down to it, we all will get exactly where David is coming from with one of Psalms.
Psalm 109 is a prophetic Psalm that is used by Peter referring to Judas Iscariot in his sermon on the day of Pentecost (cf. Acts 2:20). The Judas in David’s life was his close friend and advisor, Ahitophel. Once renowned for his wisdom, when Absalom revolted, he deserted David and supported Absalom. So David, like Jesus, understood betrayal at its greatest (cf. 2 Samuel 15 – 17).
Equally interesting is Jewish tradition that says the Psalm originated in David’s advice to Solomon as Solomon takes the throne. Much like Peter’s sermon reminds those who would be Christians of God’s curses for betrayal, so too, does David council his son and newly crowned king.
David is old and feeble now. His time on this earth is rapidly growing to a close. He’s seen much of both good, faithful friends and those that seem so but are not. God’s lessons are meant to be shared that others might learn too. The preface to this Psalm tells one more important point to remember. The story of God’s ultimate victory over betrayal and sin is to be sung. In addressing the Psalm to the “chief musician” David places it among the worship songs for the temple services.
Now put all this together. In this world, there is always wickedness, betrayal, false friends who will bring harm and not blessing to God’s faithful people. How are we to see them? Yes, we cannot hold a grudge and hate them, for that brings the illness of sin into our own hearts. It’s not our place to judge them for vengeance belongs to God.
And yet, God does not expect His faithful children to be ignorant, sweetness, and doormats to Satan and his minions. Not only does God bring His harshest judgments to the ungodly and sinners (cf. Proverbs 11:31 and 1 Peter 4:18) but God expects His people to take comfort in knowing that this is so!
So with all this background in mind, let’s consider God’s inspired words and David’s advice to his son, the young king:
- O God of my praise, Do not be silent!
- For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me;
- They have spoken against me with a lying
- They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without. In return for my love they act as my accusers;
- But I am in 5 Thus they have repaid me evil for good And hatred for my love.
- Appoint a wicked man over him, And let an accuser stand at his right hand.
- When he is judged, let him come forth guilty, And let his prayer become sin.
- Let his days be few; Let another take his office.
- Let his children be fatherless And his wife a widow.
- Let his children wander about and beg; And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.
- Let the creditor seize all that he has, And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.
- Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him, Nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children.
- Let his posterity be cut off; In a following generation let their name be blotted out.
- Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
- Let them be before the LORD continually, That He may cut off their memory from the earth;
- Because he did not remember to show lovingkindness, But persecuted the afflicted and needy man, And the despondent in heart, to put them to death.
- He also loved cursing, so it came to him; And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from
- But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, And it entered into his body like water And like oil into his
- Let it be to him as a garment with which he covers himself, And for a belt with which he constantly girds
- Let this be the reward of my accusers from the LORD, And of those who speak evil against my
The fact is, the wicked of this world follow Satan and his will. It is evident in every one of their misdeeds and their hatred for what is good and right before God. And God will NOT allow them to get away with it. They ARE going to be punished and stripped of every good thing. But that is not the end of the story…
- But You, O GOD, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name’s sake; Because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me;
- For I am afflicted and needy, And my heart is wounded within
- I am passing like a shadow when it lengthens; I am shaken off like the locust.
- My knees are weak from fasting, And my flesh has grown lean, without
- I also have become a reproach to them; When they see me, they wag their head.
Yes, God’s people will struggle with evil that seems to be winning. It will bother us that the wicked seem to get away with everything. But that is not the end of the story…
- Help me, O LORD my God; Save me according to Your lovingkindness. 27 And let them know that this is Your hand; You, LORD, have done it.
- Let them curse, but You bless; When they arise, they shall be ashamed, But Your servant shall be
- Let my accusers be clothed with dishonor, And let them cover themselves with their own shame as with a
God’s people need to understand that God is always in control. God’s people need to hang on to the fact that the righteousness of God is going to destroy evil and all those who practice it (read what Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8). And God’s people need to stand proudly, forgiving, blessing even when cursed. Just let God do His job and take care of them. Because God will judge harshly and rightly even as He glorifies His people. But that is not the end of the story…
- With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD; And in the midst of many I will praise
- For He stands at the right hand of the needy, To save him from those who judge his soul.
You see, our job is to stand firm with God. We must not only acknowledge His righteousness but obey and follow it. Let’s lift up our voices in praise to God that He has found us worthy to endure, to face the test of a wicked world that seems to be winning.
Let’s sing the song of victory, not despair. Let’s praise the Lord for He delivers us and saves us. Let’s live like it!
—Lester P. Bagley