Do not be silent, O God of my praise.
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues.
They beset me with words of hate, and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me, even while I make prayer for them.
So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
They say, “Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand on his right.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin.
May his days be few; may another seize his position.
May his children be orphans, and his wife a widow.
May his children wander about and beg; may they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit.
May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil.
May there be no one to do him a kindness, nor anyone to pity his orphaned children.
May his posterity be cut off; may his name be blotted out in the second generation.
May the iniquity of his father be remembered before the Lord, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.
Let them be before the Lord continually, and may his memory be cut off from the earth.
For he did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted to their death.
He loved to curse; let curses come on him. He did not like blessing; may it be far from him.
He clothed himself with cursing as his coat, may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones.
May it be like a garment that he wraps around himself, like a belt that he wears every day.”
May that be the reward of my accusers from the Lord, of those who speak evil against my life.
But you, O Lord my Lord, act on my behalf for your name’s sake; because your steadfast love is good, deliver me.
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is pierced within me.
I am gone like a shadow at evening; I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees are weak through fasting; my body has become gaunt.
I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads.
Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love.
Let them know that this is your hand; you, O Lord, have done it.
Let them curse, but you will bless. Let my assailants be put to shame; may your servant be glad.
May my accusers be clothed with dishonor; may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a mantle.
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save them from those who would condemn them to death.
This Psalm was hard to read at the near-end of a transformative and life-giving week here at Credo. After several very uplifting Psalms in a row, we come to this one. This picture that I took the other day captures a lot of my feeling about this Psalm. Undoubtedly, the writer of the Psalm is feeling the oppression and hatred of others and here he seems to quote things that they have said about what they hope to happen to him – none of it good. Towards the end, he moves into hoping that the tables are turned – not that they are ruined the way that his accusers hope he will be, but still wishing for the tables to be turned.
We all do this – its a natural human reaction. Yet, the Gospel calls us to a different standard – turning the other cheek, working towards reconciliation, and new beginnings. But when we hold resentments, old wounds, and hurts, we are bound by what those have been. And often, the bondage to those old wounds blocks our view of our Savior just as this thick rope and knot block the view of the light. You can see glimpses of the light, but the heart of it is blocked by the rope. So it can be for us. As I came to the end of this Psalm, I was hoping that the writer eventually came to a place of release and freedom from bondage.
I love the line at the beginning of Galatians 5…It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Amen.