Monday, March 14, 2011

Stepping Up: Week 4 - Day 5

Day 5 - To Be Heard

Psalm 129
1 From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me—let Israel now say—
2 from my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never been able to finish me off.
3 My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows.
4 But the LORD is good; he has cut the cords used by the ungodly to bind me.
5 May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat.
6 May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown,
7 ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder.
8 And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: "The LORD's blessings be upon you; we bless you in the LORD's name."

This lesson focuses on verses 5-8.  Have you ever noticed that some of the Psalms are asking God to bring harm or even to curse the Psalmist enemies?  We see this in these verses that David is asking God to not only defeat his enemies but to shamefully defeat them, to make them useless and despised, and to even refuse them any blessing.  Another example of this type of harsh 'request' against enemies is in:
Psalm 5:10 Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.
Well, did you know that this actually has a name!  This portion is called an "imprecatory psalm, or one that invites or invokes judgement, evil or even some kind of curse on someone or something."  This has confused me because I knew that all scripture is inspired by God. So why would He allow these negative thoughts to be part of Psalms?
2Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.

The answer is in right there - 'to make us realize what is wrong'.  When we pray to God we should bring everything to Him - even all our negative thoughts and even those curses we would like to see brought down on those who oppress us.  The key is in the last sentence of 2Tim 3:16 "It straightens us out".  The lesson from an "imprecatory psalm" (yeah I can't say it either) is that we bring all negative thoughts to God and leave them with Him so that we can move on from the negativity and not turn bitter and resentful.

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