Ps 139:17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
“Imprecatory Psalms, contained within the Book of Psalms of the Hebrew Bible (תנ”ך), are *those that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one’s enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God.” [Wikipedia]
I had never heard the word imprecatory let alone of Imprecatory Psalms until this week. Here’s one of the lists I found: Psalms: 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 109, and 139. I began at the end of the list because I was more familiar with this Psalm. It had been meaningful enough to me that I’d written a song about it years ago. When I reviewed the Psalm and my song I discovered I’d skipped right over verses *19 to 22* to the last two verses pleading for God to search my heart and know me. Now I’m surprised to discover he’s doing just that with those four verses I’d skipped back then.
Skipping over those harsh “imprecatory” verses seems typical of the “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” mentality to me. That mindset is more an indicator of not being willing to admit what God already knows I’m afraid to speak rather than of my own generous nature. That’s the problem.
That’s what makes me think my reluctance to admit to, let alone speak, such harsh words to God may be his enemy using fake guilt to influence my heart with divided loyalties. Is it better to speak words and thoughts that sound so harsh and vindictive to God, than to not speak to him at all about them? The reality is the only person I’ve been fooling is myself.
I want my prayers to be like David’s. I want my heart to be so certain of God’s Sovereign reliability that I am not afraid of the effect my hostile and harsh thoughts and words against his enemies and injustice will have on God’s opinion of me. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” That’s †rust!