It’s so unfair when a person gets bullied. If you’ve experienced it, you’ll know how tempting it is to take revenge. Our ideas of revenge rarely solve the situation. What a comfort, however, to know somebody bigger than the situation who you can turn to for help.
This song is a cry for justice. The first four verses describe the hardships suffered, and v5-13 are a list of pleas brought before the Lord, for vengeance, deliverance and mercy. It’s amazing the strength of emotion described in this psalm; and yet what realistic words are here for those who experience great injustice to voice their despair.
It is also striking in v12-13 that the seven-times vengeance of the Lord will lead to praise. We have been comfortable in the West for many years, and we are often uncomfortable about the idea of divine judgment. However, the Christian God of the Bible bringing judgment is such good news for a hurting world today. If you are experiencing injustice, know that the Lord cares, and he will not allow it to go unpunished.
And yet, what patience is required not to take vengeance into our own hands, but to leave it up to Him. He knows far better than us what true justice is required, and he promises he will do it. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
PRAYER “May your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.” Please bring justice to the oppressed, Lord, and give us faith to wait and entrust vengeance to your just and fair hand. Amen.
A psalm of Asaph.
1 O God, the nations have invaded your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble.
2 They have left the dead bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the sky,
the flesh of your own people for the animals of the wild.
3 They have poured out blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there is no-one to bury the dead.
4 We are objects of contempt to our neighbours, of scorn and derision to those around us.
5 How long, Lord? Will you be angry for ever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms that do not call on your name;
7 for they have devoured Jacob and devastated his homeland.
8 Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, God our Saviour, for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.
10 Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’
Before our eyes, make known among the nations that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.
11 May the groans of the prisoners come before you; with your strong arm preserve those condemned to die.
12 Pay back into the laps of our neighbours seven times the contempt they have hurled at you, Lord.
13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you for ever;
from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise.