Chapter-a-Day Psalm 35

ScreamPlease get up—wake up! Tend to my case. My God, my Lord—my life is on the line. Do what you think is right, God, my God, but don’t make me pay for their good time. Psalm 35:23 (TM)

Psalm 35 is what Bible scholars call an "imprecatory" psalm. That’s a large, important sounding word (which scholars love to use) which means to call down curses on someone. David starts out his song asking God to punch his enemies on the schnoz (that’s a large, important sounding word for what Bible scholars call the nose). He ends up asking God to take up his case.

Some people have issues with imprecatory psalms. It doesn’t sound too godly, asking God to punch your enemies in the schnoz. But, the psalms were David’s gut-level-honest cries to God and David was fully human in his cries. I don’t have a problem with that. The Bible instructs us to let God be the judge. In pleading his case before the Righteous Judge, David was doing exactly what God wants us to do – let Him be Judge.

Like David, I understand what it’s like to be wronged. I know what it’s like to be falsely accused. I can recall being slandered many times by strangers, friends and loved ones. I know the experience of people rolling their eyes and turning their back on me because they believed lies. I know hostile accusation. Perhaps the hardest thing when you’ve been wronged is to be "quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger" (James 1:19)to choose not to take up your own cause and let God be the Judge.

I can scream and cry and plead my case before God, asking Him to lock up my enemies and throw away the key. I can even, if I want to, scream for the death penalty when someone cuts me off in traffic. The cool thing about letting God be Judge is that, in His omniscience (that’s the large, important sounding word Bible scholars use for "He knows everything"), God knows when to judge in my favor and when to say: "Tom, silly boy, you don’t know everything and you can’t see all the circumstances. I appreciate the rant. I hear you. I love you. Now go sit down, calm down, forgive, let it go, and let me take care of this."

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and pensiero

3 thoughts on “Chapter-a-Day Psalm 35”

  1. thanks for visiting and for your comments. Nice to meet you.
    I have just read through your recent Psalm posts and like and agree very much with what you have to say.
    Your sunrise photo is awesome. I have taken lots of awesome sunsets but have never managed a sunrise yet. I am an owl and not a lark!!
    I will come back and read some more.

  2. 22 Don’t you see what they’re doing, God?
    You’re not going to let them
    Get by with it, are you? Not going to walk off
    without doing something, are you?
    The tone I got when reading this today oddly reminded me of an all too familiar tone in my house these days….whining kids. “Dad, did you see what she did…why doesn’t she get punished…I always get punished…it’s not fair.” Arrgggghhh. I get so tired of that tone. Yet, how interesting to Tom’s point that we can be real with God and share our whining and our anger at our enemies. He really is like our Daddy 🙂

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