My enemies speak evil against me, “When will he die, and his name perish?” All who hate me whisper about me, imagining the worst. “He has some fatal disease,” they say. “He will never get out of that bed!” LORD, have mercy on me. (Psalm 41:5, 7, 8)
It’s no surprise David had his detractors and enemies, and the reasons for this are legion. Rival kings with their armies; rival worshipers of false gods; add to those adversaries, the Devil, and you have a full time battle on your hands while seeking to serve and worship the One True God.
But not all enemies are external and foreign. Some had walked within David’s halls; for many are those who would seek to serve themselves rather than the LORD; to have their own cronies in office rather than the LORD’s anointed. Righteousness is not where their interest lies.
Paul tells us in his second letter to Timothy, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” So persecution is the result of living a Godly life; therefore nothing in this Psalm is unexpected, until you get to verse 10: Make me well again, so I can pay them back! Wow… I didn’t see that coming. Not “Make me well so I can serve you”; or “Make me well so I can glorify You”. No, make me well so I can pay them back.
Does that make David wrong? No just a different covenant. Regardless of whether we are betrayed or persecuted; libeled, scandalized, or marginalized; we are told to love our enemies; to do good to them, and to pray for them (Matthew 5:43-46). That’s the path of righteousness we must take. The next time you suffer are the hands of an enemy, realize it is more about paying forward than paying back. You may be investing in them finding Christ. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)