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Sermon - The Friend
Psalm 109:8-10

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The Friend

"Let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds and beg; let them see their bread also from their desolate places" (Psalm 109:8-10)

In 1969, I double-parked in front of a bookstore, ran in and demanded a Bible from the startled sales clerk. I was as surprised as he was, because I had just spent years in what was called, "Eastern Religions," and did not expect to ever embrace what I had been taught in college and in literature was the "narrowness" of Christianity.

But, while I was in a "Hindu" monastery, God incredibly spoke to my heart, directed me OUT of that place and pointed me to Christ. It had never occurred to me that God actually "spoke" to people, and certainly I had never expected it to happen to me. I could not wait to buy a Bible and learn about Jesus Christ.

I began to read Genesis, in the spring of 1969, and continued, one Book at a time, until I completed the Book of Revelation, just about a year later. I was shocked. As stated in other contexts, all I saw in the Bible was murder, lies, adultery, and war - the very things I was trying to get away from in the world! I missed the whole point, but God subsequently drew me into prayer and opened my heart to the true nature of His Word and through it, He showed me, gave me the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

Today's verses in Psalm 109 are precisely the kind of Scriptures I misunderstood before the Lord opened me to receiving His Word and His love. As is so typical in the Old Testament, these verses have a much wider usage than simply in relation to the human author, David, the King of Israel.

David was on the run. He had been anointed King by Samuel the Prophet at the command of God, but there was another man on the throne, Saul, who was also King, and his hatred of David ran very deep. The older Saul would kill the younger man if he could, but David would not allow his men to harm "God's anointed" (Saul). David would be Saul's friend if it was allowed, but Saul would betray David, any way he could.

In our Psalm (109), the key issue is betrayal. David had loyal followers, but he also had a friend who turned against him, and the very likely betrayer was Saul. The difficulty in understanding such Scriptures as Psalm 109, is a failure to comprehend the heart of men like David. He was a man full of rage at the betrayal done to him, and yet he also would not touch a hair on Saul's head, and he wouldn't allow his men to harm him either, through he could have killed Saul on a number of occasions.

It all makes sense when you consider that Psalm 109, like many Psalms, is more than poetry, more than a musical composition - it is actually a prayer. It broke David's heart that he could HELP Saul (and the nation Israel) so much, and yet Saul, out of jealousy, hated him in response. Saul's son, Jonathan, was about the same age as David, and the two young men were sincerely the best of friends. I am struck by the stark contrast between the friendship, the love of these "boys" and the hatred of Jonathan's father, Saul.

David personally knew the emotions of betrayal, but instead of acting on them in return, he took these feelings to the Lord. Instead of killing Saul, which he could have done many times, he told God how he felt. No embellishment, no pretense - "Let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds and beg; let them see their bread also from their desolate places" (Psalm 109:8-10). These were David's honest responses.

He was really upset, but he did not merely gossip or seek revenge as so many in the world (and in the Church) do – he told God! He took his hurt to the Lord, and told Him - everything! Simply, directly, openly – every bit of his anger – he told God!

Psalm 109 is a "Messianic" Psalm, from the perspective that it not only referred to events of that day, but it also looked ahead in a prophetic sense to the advent of Jesus Christ. (I find more-and-more that ALL of the Old Testament is "Messianic"). In Verse 3, for example, "They have surrounded me with words of hatred and fought against me without a cause," indeed were words that applied to David, but they are also related to Jesus (John 15:25), and to those around Him.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, a Chinese Statesman who lived from 1866 to 1925, and was the Founder and first President of the Republic of China, said, "I believe in Christ and His teachings and have endeavored to make them my own. He (Jesus) came to save the poor and the unfortunate, and those in bondage." Indeed He did. We live in a world filled with bondage and betrayal – but Jesus Christ, who gave true freedom to David and Sun Yat-Sen, can also set you and me free from the betrayal and anger of this world.

This world is truly an angry place where some enjoy the feeling, nursing it all they can, and they long for the day when "revenge" can be taken in relation to whoever may have caused the harm. Others, hurt just as much, don't want to be angry, and push that anger down and down and down, hoping it will go away. It doesn't go away and neither of the preceding methods will help you. Anger is like the festering wound under a bandage. It needs to be opened, lanced, and brought to the Surgeon, the Great Physician for the healing only He can bring.

That is what David did. When he said words like, "Let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children continually be vagabonds and beg; let them see their bread also from their desolate places" (Psalm 109:8-10). He was opening his wound to the only One who can heal a broken heart.

I like Paul's approach to anger when he said, "Be angry but sin not - don't let the sun go down on your anger" (Ephesians 4:26). Anger is inevitable in such a world as this because we're all human and betrayal does happen. Nursing your anger is not healthy and to do it is to damage yourself. Be receptive like President Sun Yat-Sen. Be open like King David. Take your heart and your anger to Christ. He is your friend and He will set you free.

Lord, we confess to You the anger that tends to be deep in our souls. We bring it to You and ask for Your forgiveness, Your mercy and healing. Fill us with the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. In His Name. Amen.

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"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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