We are hard put to understand an individual imprecatory psalm in this final book of public worship songs, but must trust the wisdom of those who acted within that ancient culture. It’s for sure that all of us have experienced the underlying core of this prayer — a betrayal by someone we trusted, and for whom we cared. At least in that sense, we understand using this as a common ritual, since it is such a common experience, and the solution modeled here is clearly seeking a pure heart.
It is this business of heart-led faith that remains so foreign to our Western sensibilities. It is so very central that there is no need to speak of it directly here. Yet without it, we would miss the meaning of the curse David prays on his enemies. It seems a little extreme. On the one hand, we cannot forget that hyperbole is rather the norm in dramatic poetry like this. On the other hand, if this symbolic enemy has truly closed off his mind to the moral leadership of his heart, then the curse simply lays bear the awful things this man has done to himself and to those who depend on him for life. Thus, the attitude of the psalm is, “Lord, let him have the fullness of the evil he has chosen!” David prays this for the very reason that it reveals the moral character of God most clearly.
You can read the rest of the study by clicking this link to Kiln of the Soul blog.