So Much for Praying for Our Enemies!

In Psalm 58 David is really letting his enemies have it. This is just a part of what he writes: “Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord! Let them flow away as waters which run continually; When he bends his bow, Let his arrows be as if cut in pieces. Let them be like a snail which melts away as it goes, Like a stillborn child of a woman, that they may not see the sun.” This is pretty vivid imagery of what David wants God to do with his enemies. The picture of a snail melting away as it goes has been the one that sticks in my mind. Anyway, how do we resolve this with the words of Jesus in the New Testament to “love our enemies and pray for those who spitefully use us”? I don’t think the prayer that Jesus had in mind was to “break out their fangs”. In the New Testament there is the idea of God judging those who have turned away from Him. Several examples come to mind. But we are not told or exhorted to pray things like this against our enemies. What do we do? Psalms is sometimes a very raw expression of human emotion; still under the inspiration of God, but not always something that we should follow. David, in his actions, did not seek to take the life of king Saul, his enemy, when he had the chance. We need to take the entire counsel of God’s word in mind when we consider our actions and attitudes. I don’t recommend praying a prayer like David prays here. Rather, I recommend following the words of Jesus as it relates to our enemies.


Leave a Reply