Psalm 35 is not for me

I’ve bumped up against one of those Psalms again. You know, one of those Psalms, a psalm that requests God’s vindication and begs for Him to rise up against enemies. A Psalm with verses like

Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, may ruin overtake them by surprise— may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin. –Psalm 35:7-8

A Psalm that makes me stare at the screen and wonder what in the world to write in my Walk through the Psalms reflection today. {Why did I decide to go through each one? Why didn’t I just pick the easy or pretty ones?} I stare at the words and spit out an irritated prayer, “Just what are we supposed to get out of this, Lord? How does a Psalm like this apply to our lives today?”

And suddenly I realize that this frustrated wondering is a sign of my privilege.

I am not a victim of injustice.

I do not know what it feels like to be a young girl lured into sex trafficking who cannot seem to find a way out to freedom. I do now know what it feels like to be a mother in a war-torn country who faces the daily fear of her children being killed. I do not know what it feels like to squeeze a survival from less than a dollar a day while the leaders of my country swim in excess. I do not know what it feels like to be falsely accused or imprisoned because of my skin color or religious background.

Thousands of people around the world are not like me. They have suffered in ways I never will. Psalm 35 is not for me. It is for them.

I too often read the Bible with an individualistic mindset. I want to know how the words apply specifically, to my life, to my thoughts, to my future. I read the Bible as if I am God’s person, not as if I am one of God’s people. Perhaps the words that feel distant to me are the exact words others need to see. And the kinds of words I should be praying on their behalf.

Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. - Psalm 35:1-2

Yes, Lord.Contend with those who are contending with your children. Fight with those who are holding your people down. Arise, and come to their aid.

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation. My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.” - Psalm 35:10-11

O Lord, think of what would happen to your reputation when these wrongs are made right! Rescue. Protect. Redeem. Save. Show your love to all.

Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could meditate on it, whether that takes us through inspiring or frustrating territory.