Psalm 141:8-10 But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge – do not give me over to death. Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, from the traps set by evildoers. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.
It is good to remember the motivation behind King David’s pleading with the LORD, his faithful God, in this psalm. He KNOWS that God is absolute sovereign over all that HE has created, and the outworking of it in history. He KNOWS he can trust his God for complete protection in EVERY circumstance, and he longs to see all this verified in his experience – for the sake of the LORD’s Name and honour as much as for his own welfare and the fulfilling of the task with which he has been entrusted as God’s representative among his people. All this is praiseworthy, God-honouring motivation.
His plea, “let the wicked fall into their own nets”, is more a call for the outworking of God’s justice in the affairs of men, rather than a vindictive one. We see this same principle applied in the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 1:18ff, where God can exercise his wrath against the ‘godlessness and wickedness’ of man simply by leaving us to our own devices! “God GAVE THEM OVER in the sinful desires of their hearts” (verses 24, 26, 28), and we clearly are seeing the natural outcome of such action throughout our world today. The ‘wicked’ are falling into their ‘own nets’!
In the previous Psalm, David had expressed concern about what would happen if God did NOT act: “O Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle – do not grant the wicked their desires, O LORD; do not let their plans succeed, OR THEY WILL BECOME PROUD. Interestingly, a few centuries later, David’s descendant, Hezekiah, would be faced with circumstances very similar to David’s. So he put on sackcloth and ashes and ‘argued’ with God in prayer about the Pride and boastful mocking by Sennacherib, King of Assyria; God heard his prayer and miraculously frustrated the plans of this enemy (2 Kings 20). Do WE trust God always to be OUR safe refuge, and to deal in his own way with any who might militantly oppose us with boasting and mockery for our stand for the truth of his Word?