March 8: Psalm 64


March 8: Psalm 64

Vindication of the upright

Common meter 86.86             Kingsfold (I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say), p. 60                                                                                                                               Morning Song, p. 30

Hear Thou my voice, O God, when I make my complaint to Thee;

From terror of the enemy do Thou my life keep free.

Hide me from secret plots of men that evildoers be,

From throng and tumult of the men that work iniquity.

Their tongues they have already whet to make them sharp as swords;

And as their arrows they have aimed their sharp and bitter words,

That they may at the innocent from ambush aim their shot;

They without warning shoot at him, and feeling safe, fear not.

In all their evil purposes they bid themselves be bold;

They talk of laying hidden snares, and say, “Who shall behold?”

They have devised injustices; a cunning plot they plan;

For cunning and deceptive are the heart and mind of man.

But God will shoot, His arrows fly; they will all be struck down,

And all who see will shake their heads; their own tongue did confound,

And then all men will stand in awe, the work of God proclaim;

And they will ponder and observe His deeds and holy Name!

The righteous in the Lord will joy, in Him will refuge take;

And all who are upright in heart will praise and worship make.

And then all men will stand in awe, the work of God proclaim;

And they will ponder and observe His deeds and holy Name!

With shocking frequency, psalms having to do with enemies penetrate the entire Psalter. The enemies referred to here are enemies of the cause of God, who lay hands on us for the sake of God. The Psalter gives us ample instruction in how to come before God in a proper way, bearing the frequent suffering which this world brings upon us. Serious illness and severe loneliness before God and men, threat, persecution, imprisonment, and whatever conceivable peril there is on earth are known by the Psalms. They do not deny it or try to deceive us about it with pious words. They allow it to stand as a severe attack on the faith. The prayer for the vengeance of God is the prayer for the execution of His righteousness in the judgment of sin. This judgment must be made public if God is to stand by His word. It must be promulgated among those whom it concerns. I myself, with my sin, belong under this same judgment. It must be fulfilled for God’s sake and it has been fulfilled, certainly, in wonderful ways. Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God, for the execution of which the psalm prays. Thus, the carrying out of vengeance becomes grace for all men in Jesus Christ. (Bonhoeffer, Psalms, p.56-59)