Asking God to Be God

Today’s reading is Psalm 35.

The first few verses of Psalm 35 seem odd to us. They picture God as lawyer and warrior. Someone is contending against me (and that is actually a legal term), contend against them for me. Someone is fighting against me, rise up and fight them for me. He really digs into the warrior metaphor in vss. 2-3, asking God to take up shields and weapons, and saying to David, “I will be your salvation!”

Then there are vss. 5-6 asking the Lord to have His angel chase the enemies away like chaff before the wind (yes, you should remember Psalm 1:4 here). What is going on here?

Let’s not read this in a vacuum. Look in Exodus 23:20-33. I’ll provide some excerpts.

Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared for you…But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries…I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you…

David didn’t just make up his prayer on the spot. He wasn’t just thinking of all the things he could say and created these ideas. David knew the Torah.

What is he doing in these prayers? He is asking God to be God. He is asking God to be for him, what He promised to be for Israel. He is asking God to be what God has already said He would be for His people.

Do you want to pray more effectively? Take a page out of David’s book and ask God to be in your life what God has declared He is.

Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 35.

PODCAST!!!

Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!

A Word for Our Kids

Hey kids, I know Psalm 35:7-8 really cause us a struggle. We almost naturally push back against his prayer that God would let the nets and traps these malicious witnesses had laid for David become their own punishment. Even though we see the stories over and over–Goliath beheaded by his own sword, Haman hung on his own gallows, the high officials and satraps who conspired against Daniel being thrown in the lions’ den they had gotten Daniel thrown into–we struggle with the concept of expecting and praying that God will do that sort of thing with our enemies.

However, as I told your parents, let’s not read this in a vacuum. Rather, consider Deuteronomy 19:16-19. I’ll provide some excerpts.

If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord…and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

David didn’t just make up his prayer on the spot. He wasn’t just thinking of all the things he could say and created these ideas. David knew the Torah.

What is he doing in these prayers? He is asking God to do what He said He would do. These are malicious witnesses. God should do to them what He has promised to do to malicious witnesses.

Do you want to pray more effectively? Take a page out of David’s book and ask God to do in your life what God has declared He does do for His people.

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