Thought to Guide Your ReadingDavid is experiencing a range of emotions—despair when he is being chased and joy when he is vindicated.
Psalm 56David faces opposition daily from people who want to hurt him. He prays for God to punish them. When they are punished David knows God was the source. He praises God for fulfilling His promises.
Psalm 120In this short psalm, David cries out to God to deliver him from the warmongers. He yells at the liars and those who want war. He fears that his life will end in exile because no one will offer terms of peace.
Psalm 140David asks God to remove him from his present company—those who only want to do evil. He calls out for God to thwart their evil plans and allow their words come back to bite them. God is on the side of the victims.
Psalm 141David asks for God to hear his voice. He wishes to stay away from the wicked ones who are around him. He wants to stay wholly for God. He asks for God to bring chastisement on the evildoers and to protect him from their evil schemes.
Psalm 142David cries out to God while he feels completely alone and without friends. God is all that he has left. He wants to be rescued so he can praise God in public.
How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right
Unlike Job, David knows the source of his troubles.In a move that makes us feel uncomfortable, David openly asks God to take up his cause and punish his enemies. Unlike Job and his friends, he never believes God is punishing him. He knows that men are the cause of his troubles and he calls out to God for help.
David's joy will come from God protecting him, not God's punishment of his enemies.David wants to praise God for what He has done. Some of the psalms have the outcome by the end. Others leave the answer up in the air. But all of them have one thing in common—David always praises God for saving him. We should praise God for God's willingness to protect His Chosen People, not His ability to punish our enemies.
David wants peace but any call for peace is met with violence.In a verse which could describe peace discussions throughout the ages and continuing to now, David laments, "I’m all for peace, but the minute / I tell them so, they go to war!" (120:7, The Message). Peace takes two sides.
David's description of warmongers then is accurate today.I am writing this in the middle of a peace crisis with North Korea. They are angry with South Korea and the USA because the two countries are practicing what would happen if North Korea were to attack South Korea. it is interesting to hear warmongers on both sides speak of war. They have several doomsday scenarios which always end with hundreds of thousands of casualties. They both try to see how they could single-handedly defeat the countries that would line up against them. So David's description that
All they do is think up new ways to be bad;serves as an apt description today. God's chosen people want peace and plan for peace. War should only happen when the other side will not stop attacking.
they spend their days plotting war games.
They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt,
speak venomous words that maim and kill. (140:2-3, The Message)
David asks God to keep him away from doing evil.As much as David complains against his enemies he also understands that he could just as easily fall into their ways. So he cries out to God to prevent his dreams from slipping evil into his consciousness. He wants to be completely different than the ones who face off against him. God's Chosen People should pray that we do not fall into the same evil our enemies are guilty of.
Do you only have eyes for God?
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