8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
9 from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.
10 They close up their callous hearts,
and their mouths speak with arrogance.
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
like a fierce lion crouching in cover.
13 Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
with your sword rescue me from the wicked.
14 By your hand save me from such people, Lord,
from those of this world whose reward is in this life.
May what you have stored up for the wicked fill their bellies;
may their children gorge themselves on it,
and may there be leftovers for their little ones.
15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
What struck me in today’s reading is David’s practice of consigning his enemies to the Lord, rather than pursuing his own revenge. David didn’t abide by the adage “Don’t get mad; get even.” But rather “Don’t get mad; get praying.”
Now, on the one hand, as I’ve mentioned previously, we should always read these psalms not as directed against our flesh and blood “enemies” of today, but rather the spiritual enemies we face: Sin, despair, doubt, worry, hatred. We should also have in view Satan and his minions, as they seek to wreak havoc in our world and in our lives.
Of course, there’s no thought of us taking revenge against Satan for what he has done, because on our own we are no match for him. But still the general principle is valid. It is not our place to seek revenge, to perpetuate hatred, to engage in vendetta. Paul wrote about this in Romans 12:17-21, calling on his readers to leave vengeance to God, and instead show kindness and love to our earthly enemies.
The fact is that, although as New Testament people we confess with Paul in Ephesians 6 that our enemies are not flesh and blood, there are some flesh and blood persons who really stir our anger, and who have done us harm. Even still, we are called not to seek revenge, not to seek to get even, not to nurse resentment and grudge into a poisonous concoction that can only harm ourselves. Instead we pray. We turn it over to the Lord. We pray for those who hurt us, and leave them to the Lord’s love, wisdom and justice.
So that is my prayer today. Yes, I’m thinking about specific people who have hurt me or wronged me or the church. I pray for their good, and consign them to the Lord and His love, wisdom, mercy and justice.
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