Lenten Devotional – Day 14 – The Appeal
But you, Sovereign Lord,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
may those who attack me be put to shame,
but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.
In a world that is broken, the psalmist appeals to God to deal with his false accusers. The idea of such a plea (“May my accusers be clothed with dishonor”) can be uncomfortable to those of us who are not exposed to the injustices of war, genocide and sex trafficking as others throughout the world are. And yet, at some point we have all chosen to repay evil for evil.
But instead of addressing injustice on his own, the psalmist takes this injustice to God and appeals to him to act on his behalf. He chooses to allow a just and holy God to deal with those who have wronged him instead of seeking retribution himself.
If God were only forgiving but not just, there would be nowhere for us to go when we are sinned against. But God’s holiness will not tolerate injustice.
As comforting as that sounds at first, we also are unjust, so unless there is some remedy for us, we will be judged with the same judgment as our oppressors. The only reason the psalmist (or we) can appeal to God is because Christ has already spoken on our behalf. When Christ cried out to God from the cross, he was rejected and scorned because he was taking the place of a sinful humanity.
Now we can appeal to God because he looks at us through the sinless Christ who spoke on our behalf.
Prayer: God, our Father, we praise you for sending Christ to cover our own acts of injustice towards you so that we can have a relationship with you, who are perfect in holiness. We thank you that you listen to our appeals when we have been wronged and that you will hear us in your compassion and mercy. Help us to bring our pleas to you instead of seeking our retribution when we are sinned against. In Christ’s Name, Amen.