So reads a popular bumpersticker. Interestingly, “Psalm 109:8” was a top Google search term yesterday. When millions of people are Googling the imprecatory Psalms, let the enemies of God be very afraid!
The 109th Psalm concerns the time when King Saul was seeking to kill David, whom Samuel had prophesied would take Saul’s place. In those days, taking a king’s place meant that the king would die. In case there is any doubt that David is imploring God to take Saul’s life, verse 9 reads: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
No, this bumpersticker is not imploring God for a 2012 election day defeat, but for an untimely death due to the curse of God on a covenant-breaker.
Of course, right away the liberal elite and many Christian leaders are decrying this “unloving” use of the imprecatory Psalms to pray for our president.
The question they ask rhetorically is, “When is it ever right to pray for the death of a president?”
The answer: “Always!”
There is a common misconception about prayer. Many people believe that prayer is a form of magic. We pray and God supernaturally answers us according to our whims. Without going into a deep theological treatise on all the reasons why this is wrong, I will quote Bob Dylan here from the 1979 album Slow Train Coming:
Do you ever wonder just what God requires?
You think He’s just an errand boy to satisfy your wandering desires.
When you gonna wake up, when you gonna wake up
When you gonna wake up and strengthen the things that remain?
Likewise, Ray Davies of The Kinks recently produced a solo work, Working Man’s Cafe, which contains a reference criticizing the popular antinomian view of prayer. While “A Hymn for a New Age” is lacking a positive affirmation of Christian orthodoxy, Davies is correct about one thing:
I don’t believe that God is a man with white hair
Sitting in a big chair
Judging the world and its morals
Forgiving today so we can sin again tomorrow
But I believe
I need something to look up to
I wanna pray but don’t know what to
Indeed. Prayer does not move God. God is already moved. Prayer puts us in the position to receive the blessings and promises of God given before the foundation of the earth. We pray according to the model of scripture to know the will of God so that we might obey Him.
Further, all professing believers are in a covenant with God. When we were baptized, the covenant was initiated. This covenant is confirmed by the sacrament of Holy Communion each time we partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
In the Christian church, sacraments are covenant-making and covenant-renewing oaths. The Apostle Paul went as far as to say that those who partake of the sacrament in a state of unrepentant sin are knowingly entering into judgment (1 Corinthians 11:26-32).
Even the pagan Roman officials could see this connection in 112 AD. Pliny the Younger, making a report to the Emperor Trajan wrote:
They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, and they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath (sacramentum), not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up. Afterward, it was their custom to … partake of food, but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.
To be a Christian is to be a covenant-keeper. But what happens when the covenant is broken?
Throughout scripture we see the covenant of God and the corresponding blessings and curses that come when we keep or break the covenant.
Barack Obama is a professing Christian. He was a member of a church that holds to the Apostles and Nicene Creeds and the Heidelberg Catechism. Among his greatest sins, Barack Obama is also pro-abortion. He has fought hard to keep abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy, by any method, for any reason. Obama even opposed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act in his home state — a bill that even Planned Parenthood and NARAL refused to oppose because it essentially outlawed the infanticide of children born-alive after botched abortions.
When not only liberal commentators, but also squeamish preachers condemn those who condemn Obama, they are reaching the height of hypocrisy. They cite a so-called “Christian love” that includes looking the other way rather than oppose our president’s open support of child murder.
Those who would pray Psalm 109:8 for Barack Obama need to understand that imprecatory prayer is not a magical formula. If God blesses us, who can curse us? For how can our enemies curse whom God has not cursed? We may curse those whom God has already cursed, but in the next breath, we need to also bless those whom God has blessed. The focus must always be God’s sovereign glory and the honor of His name.
However wrong the intentions might be, it is no more of a sin to pray the covenantal curses of God on President Obama than it is to remain silent about his sin. Scripture assures us that if Barack Obama, one of God’s covenant people, is graced with the gift of repentance, then God will surely bless him.
In short, don’t pray Psalm 109:8 for President Obama. We are not to judge or curse our enemies. We are to pray and proclaim what God himself has already decreed before the foundation of the world toward both His friends and His enemies. Pray all of Psalm 109. Pray all of the blessings and curses found in the Law-Word of God.
For reference, here is a list of articles on imprecatory prayer from The Forerunner.
An Imprecatory Prayer Proclamation: Barack Obama
What is Imprecatory Prayer?
The Attitude of the Godly Toward God’s Enemies
Imprecatory Prayer: Enforcing the Covenant of God
Imprecatory Prayer! – The Church’s Duty Against Her Enemies
Psalm 109 (KJV)
1 Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;
2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.
4 For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.
5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.
7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.
8 Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
9 Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
10 Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.
11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.
12 Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.
13 Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.
15 Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
16 Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.
17 As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.
18 As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.
19 Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually.
20 Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the LORD, and of them that speak evil against my soul.
21 But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name’s sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me.
22 For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust.
24 My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness.
25 I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads.
26 Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
27 That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.
28 Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice.
29 Let mine adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle.
30 I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.
31 For he shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul.