A psalm of Asaph. 1 God, an army from the nations has attacked your land. They have polluted your holy temple. They have completely destroyed Jerusalem. 2 They have left the dead bodies of your people. They have left them as food for the birds in the sky. They have left the bodies of your faithful people. They have left them for the wild animals. 3 They have poured out the blood of your people like water. It is all around Jerusalem. No one is left to bury the dead. 4 We are something our neighbors joke about. The nations around us laugh at us and make fun of us. 5 Lord, how long will you be angry with us? Will it be forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? 6 Bring your great anger against the nations that don’t pay any attention to you. Bring it against the kingdoms that don’t worship you. 7 They have swallowed up the people of Jacob. They have destroyed Israel’s homeland. 8 Don’t hold against us the sins of our people who lived before us. May you be quick to show us your tender love. We are in great need. 9 God our Savior, help us. Then glory will come to you. Save us and forgive our sins. Then people will honor your name. 10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Show the nations that you punish those who kill your people. We want to see it happen. 11 Listen to the groans of the prisoners. Use your strong arm to save people sentenced to death. 12 Lord, our neighbors have laughed at you. Pay them back seven times for what they have done. 13 We are your people, your very own sheep. We will praise you forever. For all time to come we will keep on praising you.
This psalmist talks of a physical enemy and the pain of the defeat and death and dishonour of real people – God’s people. As I live on this side of amazing grace (post Jesus dying for my sins and rising in resurrection power) – I’m trying to find a relevant connection for me as I read it.
I’m called to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me – but here the psalmist cries out for vengeance – payback!
2 things strike me
- God’s amazing grace through Jesus absolutely changes the way I relate to God and to people
- I have enemies – but they are not flesh and blood –
- they are powers are principalities (satan and his demons) and
- the echo of my old sinful nature – that once rebelled against God’s rule in my life
With these things in mind as I re-read the psalm I see a cry to God for justice and I am stirred to echo the words of the Lord’s Prayer: “May Your kingdom come may Your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.”
Lord you have called me to love You and to love people. When I look around at the state of the world – there is much that requires Your justice. But I cry out to You not for vengeance or payback – I cry out to You for Your Kingdom to come here on earth – as it is in heaven – across the earth – across every nation. May Your kingdom come here in my life and in the lives of everyone one of us who call you Lord and may You establish Your peace and righteousness across the earth.
Written by Ps. Linda Quinn