Ever feel like the whole world is against you? Read this masterpiece.
David is troubled because he’s been falsely accused by his enemies — the song doesn’t say exactly why — and he earnestly seeks retribution and vindication. Those are fancy words for revenge and rescue. And who does he call for backup? Oh yeah.
This is one meaty psalm: twenty-eight verses of heart-felt pleading, colorful suggestions for punishing adversaries, and, per usual, outpourings of adoration.
one were to plow through the book of Psalms from start to finish, this is around the point that the verses begin a pattern of relative redundancy. Sure, each song has its quirks and unique twists, but several of them have a similar theme:
1) Help, I’m in trouble.
2) Kill my enemies.
3) I love You, God.
Here’s why this one is particularly interesting:
1) David suggests some creative solutions for his enemies. Every good Christian agrees that justice and vengeance are of the Lord, but it never hurts to elbow jab God and, after complimenting His flowing robe, offer a hint or two about how to handle the opposition.
Let’s take a look at some of David’s ideas — have an angel chase them down (v. 5-6), have them fall into their own booby trap (v. 8), restrain them from “winking” (or any boasting) (v. 19), and incite confusion and shame (v. 26). None of these resemble Saw-like torture devices, but it makes us wonder how God might carry some of this stuff out.
2) It ascribes to an enemy stronger than ourselves. (v. 10) Is it possible that, even though God is within us, we cannot overpower everything in our path? We like to trumpet the verse about faith as small as a mustard seed, and the one about the Lord renewing our strength. But when times are tough (iPhone dies, gas prices go up $0.029 a gallon, four people in the Starbucks drive thru ahead of you), we like to do things ourselves. But sometimes the enemy is bigger than you. And that’s okay.
I hope you didn’t take the examples seriously. If that’s the case, you might need one of these.
3) David mourns when his enemies are ill. (v. 11-14) Despite the obvious hostility, David eats a humble sandwich and empathizes with his adversaries’ sickness. It’s hard to shake the “neener-neener” complex we inherited starting at around three years old and demonstrate love for those we don’t get along with when tragedy befalls them. This requires intense divine inspiration. Tap into it.
4) It’s relatable. (various) We’ve all experienced plotting, gossip, lies, backstabbing, hypocrisy, mockery and arrogance exercised against us. It’s refreshing to know, in a way, that someone else, even a king at the top of his game, dealt with the same stuff. In the end, it appears he overcomes the situation with the help of the Lord, further encouraging us and helping us realize how dependent upon God we must become.
5) It ends the right way. (v. 28) While the praise is somewhat conditional, David’s response is still worship. If you’re broke, tired, and stressed beyond reason, try this out: go to bed thanking God. It sounds backward because we’re looking at who we are and what’s going on in our lives. The goal is to see who He is and what He has already done. And if you know anything about the greatness of God and the sweeping arm of grace via Jesus, it won’t take long to TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN.