Old Testament king and psalmist, David, was familiar with accusers. He described them as wicked people speaking deceitful and hateful words about him without cause. Accusers: they assume motives based upon merely outward evidence—or no evidence—without extending the benefit of the doubt first. Or, they criticize and blame those who reflect God from hearts that have called God’s ways according to His Word not good.
To help us broach an understanding of our approach to accusers, Charles Spurgeon said, “If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” What could I be accused of that has not been true of me before God? Before God redeemed me, I was His enemy (Colossians 1:21; Romans 5:10) who was hostile toward Him (Romans 8:7-8), hated His light (John 3:20), was a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3), was dead because I sought my own ways (Ephesians 2:5), and could do no good in His eyes (Romans 3:10-11). So, how could having an accuser be offensive to me when I have already seen my need for a Savior?
Facing accusers can be, at the least, draining, but they can’t diminish us on a deep level because we, the redeemed, are no longer our own. We are not living based upon our merit; we are living based upon the merit of Christ whose gospel enables the Holy Spirit to be within. He has redeemed us to be His children (Ephesians 1:5), who love Him (Psalm 34:8; Psalm 40:8), who are lovers of His light (Psalm 89:15), who seek His ways (Colossians 3:1-2), and who can do good works for Him (Ephesians 2:10). All of what we are now enabled to be and to do is a gift from God to us. So, while accusations about us are not offensive when considering our own abilities and natural selves, accusations about us who are now Spirit-filled through God’s grace can be offensive concerning God. When we are seeking His honor and are on His mission—sharing His Word and seeking to reflect Him to the world—very often, those who falsely accuse us are, actually, accusing God.
Being in His Word can tell us the difference between being confronted about a legitimate area of sin in our lives versus being accused due to our love for the righteous and holy ways of God. In David’s experience surrounding Psalm 109, he confidently held to the latter. He held God as the God of his praise (Psalm 109:1). The thrust of his experience here was about seeking God’s honor and living out God’s mission. He specifically affirmed this, stating that he had shown his accusers goodness and love (Psalm 109:4-5).
Because David’s accusers were God’s accusers, David had strong words for them. Here are just a few: “Let his prayer be counted as sin!” “May his days be few!” “May his children be fatherless!” David’s accusers are set in their ways and cannot be persuaded or reasoned with from the Word of God. They have dug-in to their hatred of God—rejecting David’s extension of love and goodness. David knows that their accusations are dishonoring to the God who made them both.
In general, relationships aren’t made to not be reciprocated and enjoyed together—between all of the people God has made. That’s why approaching our wrongful accusers is heartbreaking and draining. It is opposite of what ought to be happening, were all right with the world and with the hearts of mankind. David said that facing his accusers caused him to be “poor and needy,” while his heart was “stricken within him” (Psalm 109:22). Emotional pain is physical pain. Yet, out of this true pain, what motivation came from David in approaching his accusers?
He was driven by a desire for God’s matchless Name to be preserved as holy and good in the sight of those involved and watching. He prayed for the truth to shine through the lies of accusation for the sake of God’s reputation saying, “But You, O God my Lord, deal on my behalf for Your Name’s sake” (Psalm 109:21). David went on to say that he called upon God to deliver him because God’s steadfast love is good.
David didn’t ask God to deliver him because he felt he deserved it; David’s concern was with the reputation of God. He desired that everyone see that God’s steadfast love is good. Accusers might say that because God is holy and righteous, having definitive positions about what is right and wrong, His love is, somehow, not good. But David knew the truth. God’s steadfast love is good and David—first and foremost—wanted that known.
Later, David also appeals to God to save him because he is someone who is replenished and sustained by the steadfast love of God (Psalm 109:26); David was both dependent upon God’s love and desirous that everyone to know its goodness.
The emotion of each line in Psalm 109 demonstrates that this particular circumstance in David’s life, warranting this Psalm, was extreme. One day—perhaps not too distant of a day from now—our own circumstances of wrongful accusations about God and His ways—aimed at us who reflect Him to the world—may also come to each of us in extreme ways. Yet, even in more mild present circumstances, we can apply each principle we learn to our various instances of false accusation.
We are to be on God’s mission, seeking to represent His Biblical truth to the world. We extend goodness and love even when they are met with evil and hatred. We are to be motivated by and driven concerning God’s Name and reputation in this world—not compromising any aspect of His truth or character. We are to depend upon God’s steadfast love when our hearts are stricken—that is, when relationships are not what they could or should be—and when our God is being wrongfully accused. And we are to never, in any circumstance, concede that God is anything less than wholly and purely—despite any contrary perspectives—good.
Resolutely, David wrote: “Let them curse, but You will bless” (Psalm 109:28)! David could be confident that He would receive God’s blessing; He claimed it. He could bear the words of the accusers that were flying around him because he knew that God would bless. David was blessed to know God’s love in the present, to know his future as someone who belonged to God, and to know that one day, all people would see and acknowledge that this holy and righteous God is the only standard of good—good beyond even our present understanding.
Reading Psalm 109 for ourselves necessitates that we can come at it both as having been the wrongful accusers and as now being the redeemed representatives of God, like David. Having been born wrongful accusers, we understand that the goodness in our hearts is by grace alone—a gift. Now, being declared righteous means that we care about God’s reputation over our own. So, when we do care about our reputation, it’s purely because ours reflects His in this world.
We are humble about our sin; simultaneously, we are inflexible about the truth of God’s character and the truth of His good work on our lives to redeem us and enable us to love His Word and do good works. When we are reflecting God and His Word to the world, we are indiscriminate about sharing His holy goodness and righteous love with others. We proclaim it because His Name is great and matchless despite any accusations and lies about Him. How good is the Lord and greatly to be praised!