Monday, May 16, 2011

Psalm 140

1 Rescue me, LORD, from evildoers;
protect me from the violent,
2 who devise evil plans in their hearts
and stir up war every day.
3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s;
the poison of vipers is on their lips.

4 Keep me safe, LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent,
who devise ways to trip my feet.
5 The arrogant have hidden a snare for me;
they have spread out the cords of their net
and have set traps for me along my path.

6 I say to the LORD, “You are my God.”
Hear, LORD, my cry for mercy.
7 Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer,
you shield my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant the wicked their desires, LORD;
do not let their plans succeed.

9 Those who surround me proudly rear their heads;
may the mischief of their lips engulf them.
10 May burning coals fall on them;
may they be thrown into the fire,
into miry pits, never to rise.
11 May slanderers not be established in the land;
may disaster hunt down the violent.

12 I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor
and upholds the cause of the needy.
13 Surely the righteous will praise your name,
and the upright will live in your presence.

Questions to consider:

  • From whom does the author want to be rescued?
  • For what is the author crying out?
  • For whom does the author say the Lord secures justice?
  • Why do you think the righteous will praise the name of God?
  • How do you feel about the way that the author asks for retribution for his foes? Do you ever feel like you want to pray in that way too?

Possibilities for prayer:

In reading through this passage, I was struck by the way in which the author pretty blatantly seeks bad things for those who have caused him harm. When I've found myself particularly frustrated, hurt, or wounded, I have definitely thought about praying that they would be punished for the way in which I was treated, but almost immediately felt convicted for that attitude. Today in prayer, why don't we try to do something like the opposite of what David does here--let's pray for those who have harmed us in a way that seeks God's best for them. Instead of asking that "burning coals" be heaped upon their heads, ask that they would encounter God's grace.