Prepare to Listen. Light the first two purple candles and pray: Lord, I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvellous for me.
Prayerfully Read Psalm 129
1 ‘Often have they attacked me from my youth’—let Israel now say--
2 ‘often have they attacked me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.
3 Those who plough ploughed on my back; they made their furrows long.’
4 The LORD is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.
5 May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back.
6 Let them be like the grass on the housetops that withers before it grows up,
7 with which reapers do not fill their hands or binders of sheaves their arms,
8 while those who pass by do not say,
‘The blessing of the LORD be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the LORD!’
As pray-ers went up to the temple to worship God, they remembered and prayed about the national hardships they’d endured from the beginning, their youth (v1), a reference to deliverance from Egypt, the wilderness wandering and entrance into the promised land. The nation is now older, and recently freed from Babylonian exile. Despite years of being ‘ploughed’ with ‘long furrows’, no enemy prevailed against them.
However, their recent release didn’t stop them calling for the end of their enemy (vv5-8) who ploughed the long furrows. They prayed that the enemy will be like “grass on the housetops” that cannot last and thus will not receive a blessing.
Praying the psalms often means praying prayers of vengeance against an enemy. But remember that the prayer is offered in God’s presence and left there. The pray-ers never take matters into their own hands. They patiently wait for God to act with righteousness, bringing correct and just order into their world. They know God will act because God has acted before. Hence they sing, “The LORD is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.”
As we live today with the devastating effects of covid-19 and the failed response to it, we too can call on God to destroy this enemy. We can learn from the ancient Hebrews who prayed these psalms regularly, to wait on the Lord to act in righteousness, restoring and reordering our world, so that justice is served.
What caught your attention in this psalm today? Live with it today.
Respond to Jesus
Lord you are righteous. You know our difficulties and hardships today. Come down and do your work of restoring righteousness and justice in our world, I pray. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world with a belief that the LORD is indeed righteous.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.