God’s got your back

2 Jan

Hi friends,
For those who have just joined this blog, my daily life is somewhat routine. I care for mom and dad who remain about the same. They are mentally alter, but face difficult physical challenges. They are grateful I can help them out. My church is in a town about 8 miles from here. It is a nice half-time appointment and I get to preach each Sunday. So, I have been working my way through the psalms.

We are up to Psalms 109. This song to God is one for a cry of help. The psalmist is feeling persecuted. The writer has received hatred for love, curses for blessings. There have been times in my life that I felt this way. There were people who just disliked me and wanted to say mean things about me. Here is the psalmist description. By the way, I always use The Message; Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase always gets me thinking.

1-5 My God, don’t turn a deaf ear to my hallelujah prayer.
Liars are pouring out invective on me;
Their lying tongues are like a pack of dogs out to get me,
barking their hate, nipping my heels—and for no reason!
I loved them and now they slander me—yes, me!—
and treat my prayer like a crime;
They return my good with evil,
they return my love with hate.

The writer wants God to send Satan to deal with these liars. It is interesting that it is believed that Satan is under God’s command to go and bring cruses upon those who return our good for evil.

Send the Evil One to accuse my accusing judge;
dispatch Satan to prosecute him.
When he’s judged, let the verdict be “Guilty,”
and when he prays, let his prayer turn to sin.
Give him a short life,
and give his job to somebody else.
Make orphans of his children,
dress his wife in widow’s weeds;
Turn his children into begging street urchins,
evicted from their homes—homeless.
May the bank foreclose and wipe him out,
and strangers, like vultures, pick him clean.
May there be no one around to help him out,
no one willing to give his orphans a break.
Chop down his family tree
so that nobody even remembers his name.
But erect a memorial to the sin of his father,
and make sure his mother’s name is there, too—
Their sins recorded forever before God,
but they themselves sunk in oblivion.
That’s all he deserves since he was never once kind,
hounded the afflicted and heartbroken to their graves.
Since he loved cursing so much,
let curses rain down;
Since he had no taste for blessing,
let blessings flee far from him.
He dressed up in curses like a fine suit of clothes;
he drank curses, took his baths in curses.
So give him a gift—a costume of curses;
he can wear curses every day of the week!
That’s what they’ll get, those out to get me—
an avalanche of just deserts from God.

The writer is creative and detailed about what ought to happen to their persecutor. I am drawn to the lines, “Since he loved cursing so much, let curses rain down; Since he had no taste for blessings, let blessings flee far from him.” I find it true that what you look for you find and what you give you tend to get. So, I think the writer is correct. If the persecutor is loving to cruse and looking at the world through that lens then he will probably find more cursing. And if he never blessings anyone, then he will not find or even understand if someone blesses him.

This next section of the psalm is consistent with the writers lament. They always look to God to work it out. It is God who will deal with the liars, the haters.

Oh, God, my Lord, step in;
work a miracle for me—you can do it!
Get me out of here—your love is so great!—
I’m at the end of my rope, my life in ruins.
I’m fading away to nothing, passing away,
my youth gone, old before my time.
I’m weak from hunger and can hardly stand up,
my body a rack of skin and bones.
I’m a joke in poor taste to those who see me;
they take one look and shake their heads.
26-29 Help me, oh help me, God, my God,
save me through your wonderful love;
Then they’ll know that your hand is in this,
that you, God, have been at work.
Let them curse all they want;
you do the blessing.
Let them be jeered by the crowd when they stand up,
followed by cheers for me, your servant.
Dress my accusers in clothes dirty with shame,
discarded and humiliating old ragbag clothes.

I like the line, “Let them curse all they want; you do the blessing.” Isn’t that true of all of life. We do need to worry about the difficulties of life, or of people who want to talk trash about us, because God is always looking to bless us. God has got our back. So, all we have to do is praise God.

30-31 My mouth’s full of great praise for God,
I’m singing his hallelujahs surrounded by crowds,
For he’s always at hand to take the side of the needy,
to rescue a life from the unjust judge.

I pray you have a wonderful day singing hallelujahs to God.IMG_20140102_080859 (1)

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