My thoughts (David Zier):
As I read today’s scripture passage, it reminded me of myself, especially in the past when I would be upset at someone, and wanted some kind of revenge for a wrong doing, or something bad to happen to someone. When I was young, I was a pretty nerdy kid. I loved school and excelled, and I would get teased and picked on because of it. And of course, I could think of lots of things to do to get back at the people who thought that I was odd because I was on the math team, or because I loved math and science, or because I was a member of the Pythagorean Society and Honor Society. I look back on it, and I admit that the nerdy kids were a little over the top, referring to ourselves as erudite. I guess it sounds like we were snobs, so maybe we deserved it! But it did not give others permission to be mean to us.
When I read this Psalm, I can feel the anguish and the anger of the writer, wanting God to get others for doing wrong. Venting is one thing, but do I really think God wants me to pray to “get rid of” others who may not treat me well?
There are two verses that provide a deeper meaning for me. “Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love” (verse 26). And “Let them curse, but you will bless” (verse 28).
Instead of getting even or seeking revenge, “God, help me, save me according to your steadfast love!” To me, that’s like saying, “Change what is going on inside me, so that I can live in your love and kindness, and share in your grace. This feeling of vengeance is eating me up and consuming me!”
Verse 28 reminds me of what Jesus says in Luke 6:27-28, “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Romans 12:14 says to pray for those who persecute you and that God will bless them.
This is not so easy. But I don’t think the message is about what is easy. I think this Psalm can be a warning to us. If we let it, life and the circumstances in life can eat us up if we dwell only on the bad, if we have a critical spirit, if we let those circumstances carry us away so we spend all of our time dwelling on them, allowing the negative to take us away from God.
Please note: If you are dealing with something serious, such as issues of abuse or depression, please seek the help and therapy you need to allow yourself to deal with the issue in the proper manner in addition to spiritual guidance. This is not easy to work through, and this devotional is not meant to take such issues lightly.
Thought for the day: God, save me according to your love, and let me pray that you will bless others. Help me to grow.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.