Lesson 2: What About Imprecatory Psalms?
Sermon shared by Elmer Towns
Summary: How to pray for and fight against enemies.
Audience: General adults
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1. Imprecatory means judgment, i.e., asking God to punish, kill, and throw into hell (Psalm 2, 37, 69, 70, 109, 143).
2. David throws them into hell. “Let Satan the accuser stand at his right hand . . . let his days be few. . . let his children be fatherless, and let his wife be a widow . . . may his children be wondering street people . . . may creditors seize all his assets . . . may his descendants be destroyed . . . a may the iniquity of his father be remembered before You. May the sins of his mother never be forgiven” (Ps. 109, ELT).
3. Jesus said the opposite. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” (Luke 6:27-28).
4. Paul says do good to your enemies. “Repay no one evil for evil . . . if it is possible, live peaceably with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. If your enemy is hungry, feed him . . . for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head . . . overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:17-21).
5. Some say imprecatory Psalms should not be in the Bible. Others say David and Jesus are contradictory. Perhaps, we are looking at two dispensations, kingdom and church? Maybe the difference is government protectors, not individual protection.
6. David didn’t represent his personal “loss,” but David as king represented the government. It is the government’s job to protect its people and punish its enemies.
B. Types of Adversaries
1. One who hates you and loves to harm all people, i.e., mean-spirited person.
2. One who has power over you, and has used it against you, i.e., could be boss, etc.
3. One who has personal prejudice against you, i.e., a racist.
4. One who harms you but doesn’t know it, i.e., ignorant of the harm he does.
5. One who harms you for his personal advantage, i.e., selfish or thief.
6. One whose purpose is to destroy you, i.e., an enemy.
7. Discuss dealing with road rage, civil rights, killing in war, etc.
When To Fight
- Is the danger directed at you?
- Do you deserve the danger you receive?
- In what ways could your adversary be objective or correct?
- Is the adversary a potential danger to many?
- What will you gain by submission? Fighting?
- What could you lose by opposing an opponent?
C. Principles for Imprecatory Prayer
1. Since God inspired the words and thoughts of scripture, why did He include imprecatory prayers in the Bible? Can we pray this way? These were real people and real prayers.
2. These were battle cries of God’s people against an anti-God foe.
a. The enemy hates holiness and obedience to God. The enemy hates your lifestyle.
b. The enemy is trying to destroy God’s people and God’s influence.
c. This is a battle cry: kill or be killed.
3. Goliath didn’t just hate David and God’s people, he hated God. “I defy the armies of Israel” (1 Sam. 17:10). “Defy the armies of the living God” (1 Sam 17:26). “The Philistine cursed David by his gods” (1 Sam 17:43). David did not pray or bless Goliath, he cut off his head.
4. Imprecatory prayers are not for personal revenge, but puts judgment in God’s hands.
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