Key Verses: 35:22-23a
“But you’ve seen it too, Lord. Don’t keep quiet about it. Please don’t be far from me, my Lord. Wake up! Get up and do justice for me;” CEB
If you have not, read the whole Psalm.
As I was working through this Psalm I kept asking myself, “What kind of awful things must be happening to this person for him to desire not only for harm to happen to those who are moving against him, but to then ask God to do that harm.” He must be so desperate. He must feel so completely out of options.
I am impressed with his honesty with God. He tells God exactly what he would like to see happen to all those who are hurting him. This person is desperate. He is hurting. He has nowhere to go. So, he goes to God. He asks, “How long will you, God, watch this happen?” He begs God to not “keep quiet.”
Make justice happen me!
Stand up for me!
Speak up for me!
Establish your justice!
I do not know if I have ever been so desperate that I have desired for God’s wrath to move against the one who has harmed me. I have wanted for someone to get what they deserved. But I believe, I can say when I am at my most honest with myself, and with God, when I have been hurt the most by another, I have never wanted harm to happened to that person. I do not think this is true for me because I am better than the Psalmist. I think it is because I have never been this desperate, the harms done to me, the threats I have faced are not as great, as terrible, as continual, or systematic. I believe that not having ever felt this way is a privilege not everyone experiences. And when I say that I have never felt this way or experienced harm this great, it is me speaking from that privilege.
These thoughts, these reactions, this intense desire for retribution and for justice comes from deep, continual, systematic harms, endured over and over again, throughout a lifetime. I can only imagine how silent God must seem in the face of that kind of harm, how far away. I can only pray with the Psalmist, with the one who has been hurt this deeply, who is this desperate and come alongside her as her alley and cry out for justice for her. I can only stand beside him asking for what it is he asks, crying for what he cries. I can say, “Do not be far away from these in pain, these who are desperate, my Lord.” And fall on my face before God and humbly seek God’s guidance to be one who works to bring justice wherever there is injustice.
Thing to Think on
How does the pleas of the Psalmist make you feel?
Have you ever felt this way?
What would you ask God for if you were being as honest as the Psalmist?
Are you as desperate, as hurt and misused as the Psalmist seems to be in this Psalm? If not, how can you stand with the Psalmist in his pain?
What would your prayer be, if you were praying a prayer on behalf of someone who finds themselves in a similar situation as the Psalmist?
A Prayer for Today
Oh Lord, O God, I can see the pain. I can see their anger. I can see the desperation. I can see the harm that is done. I do not always understand it all. I am might never fully understand what it means to walk around in someone else’s skin. But I can believe them when they tell me their stories. I can stand beside them and call for justice. Let your justice reign, let it be here on earth (in my nation) as it is in Heaven. Help me to understand how I can be a person who works to make your justice manifest in what ever small way I am able. Help me to stand with all those whom you stand. Let their prayers become my prayers. -Amen