1 I come to you for protection, O Lord my God. Save me from my persecutors—rescue me! 2 If you don’t, they will maul me like a lion, tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me. 3 O Lord my God, if I have done wrong or am guilty of injustice, 4 if I have betrayed a friend or plundered my enemy without cause, 5 then let my enemies capture me. Let them trample me into the ground and drag my honour in the dust. Interlude
6 Arise, O Lord, in anger! Stand up against the fury of my enemies! Wake up, my God, and bring justice! 7 Gather the nations before you. Rule over them from on high. 8 The Lord judges the nations. Declare me righteous, O Lord, for I am innocent, O Most High! 9 End the evil of those who are wicked, and defend the righteous. For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God. 10 God is my shield, saving those whose hearts are true and right.
11 God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If a person does not repent, God will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. 13 He will prepare his deadly weapons and shoot his flaming arrows. 14 The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. 15 They dig a deep pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. 16 The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads. 17 I will thank the Lord because he is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
Often we’re a bit uncomfortable with a picture of an angry and vengeful God. We skip past the pages of the Old Testament where great violence seems to be meted out in God’s name. But the reality is that God is a God of justice as well as mercy. It’s intrinsic in his character. It’s actually why we need Jesus: wrong will always have consequence and punishment – ultimately utter separation from God. This Psalm is actually talking about real wickedness – real depravity – which, left unchecked will lead to real destruction of innocent lies. I’m sure situations in the world are springing to mind where this kind of behaviour is only too real. There are so many places where such heinous crimes against humanity are being committed that we don’t even know how to start to pray. Our God hates injustice. He is always on the side of the orphan and the widow – of those who are helpless in the face of disaster and we have no choice but to trust that he holds all that grieves our hearts and spirits.
Questions for thought and discussion…
- What injustices will you cry out to the Lord for today?
- How can you engage your young people in fighting against injustice in Jesus’ name?