Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday, May 12th: Psalm 68-70 ~ Jeannine

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Psalm 68-70

As we read through the Psalms, I have also noticed, as Nathan mentioned yesterday, that David spends a lot of time talking to God about "those who hate me without reason" (Psalm 69:4), and how he desires for God to "deliver me from those who hate me" (Psalm 69:14).  He declares how he is "scorned, disgraced and shamed" (Psalm 69:19) and how those who are persecuting him should "be blotted out of the book of life" (Psalm 69: 28).

I learned something new as I looked into these verses.  Psalm 69 is one of many Imprecatory Psalms. I have never heard that term before and so I had to look up the definition...here is what it means... "contained within the Book of Psalms of the Hebrew Bible (תנ"ך), are those that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one's enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God."

Have you every wished, as I shamefully have, that God would bring some form of vengeance or retribution against someone who has hurt or betrayed you?  Have you had times where you have sinfully desired this and then realized how horrible that attitude was?  Praying against our "enemies" and asking God for vengeance in no way lines up with Matthew 5:44 which clearly states that we are to "love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!"

I found this article by John Piper called "Do I Not Hate Those Who Hate You, O Lord?"  In the article he discusses some of these verses that seem so very harsh towards David's enemies.  I appreciated his conclusion...

"We will grant to the psalmist (usually David), who speaks, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as the foreshadowed Messiah and Judge, the right to call down judgment on the enemies of God. This is not personal vindictiveness. It is a prophetic execution of what will happen at the last day when God casts all his enemies into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). We would do well to leave such final assessments to God, and realize our own corrupt inability to hate as we ought. While there is unforgivable sin for which we are not to pray, we are told to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us, and return good for evil (as David did). This is our vocation by faith. Let us tremble and trust God, lest we fail, and find ourselves on the other side of the curse." (John Piper)

Lord help us strive to love our "enemies" as this is what you require of us.  Help us to put aside our feelings of personal vindictiveness and leave any judgement to God.  Help us to trust in His love and justice in all situations we face.

2 comments:

Nathan Reimer said...

Psalm 68:19
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.

Dealing with the burden of someone who wronged us and went "unpunished" is a battle we all have faced. Leaving this with God and moving on can be extremely difficult. I pray for strength to be able to move on and forgive, and leave the vengeance to God.

Tammy Reimer said...

We would do well to leave such final assessments to God, and realize our own corrupt inability to hate as we ought. Ouch - great, convicting, quote!

Psalm 69:32 The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Truly, our pride prevents us from seeing God at work. Our eyes cannot be on ourselves and Him at the same time. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, and be amazed at what He is doing!