Read Psalm 35:1-10. 1Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! 2Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help! 3Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers! Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!” 4Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life! Let them be turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me! 5Let them be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away! 6Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them! 7For without cause they hid their net for me; without cause they dug a pit for my life. 8Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it! And let the net that he hid ensnare him; let him fall into it—to his destruction! 9Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord, exulting in his salvation. 10All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?”
Have you ever been treated unfairly? Likely you have. And, as it did for David, it probably felt like an eternity was passing by as you waited for truth and justice to prevail. But David simply would not give up on God and his deliverance from the injustice he faced – without cause they hid a net for me.
The battle language abounds here. Fight. Shield. Buckler. Spear. Javelin. Nets. Pits. There’s chasing, and driving, and slipping, and falling. The whole thing is quite intense. So intense that David calls twice upon the Angel of the Lord, the physical manifestation of God, to come down and fight for him.
Most theologians agree that the Angel of the Lord is Christ himself. God the Son. Jesus. Who on the day of his greatest battle did NOT pray Psalm 35. Jesus did not cry out for God’s spear, but was pierced for our transgressions. Jesus did not beg for his shame to be ended, but carried the shame of the criminal’s cross. Jesus did not ask for the net of destruction to be removed, but submitted himself to the enemy’s trap. All so that any injustice we face in this life might be an opportunity to follow in Christ’s steps, and not a source of shame. It is an opportunity to cry out not for our own salvation, a salvation we already have in Christ, but for the forgiveness of our oppressor.
To live is Christ is to transform injustice from an opportunity for revenge into an opportunity for forgiveness and love.
Prayer. Jesus, I know your spear and javelin are coming, but not today. Today may I rejoice in your deliverance through the spear in your side, not the one I would like to see in my enemy.
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