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Psalms Help You Get Real – Junk Ejector

approaching-godKey Bible Verse: Break off their fangs, O God! Smash the jaws of these lions, O Lord! … May they be like snails that dissolve into slime. Psalm 58: 6, 8

Bonus Reading: Psalm 55:12-14, 20-23

A colleague of mine on the Hollywood Presbyterian Church staff, whom I’ll call Jim, was a close friend. But then Jim turned against me. He never would tell me what I’d done or said that injured him. I felt betrayed.

Reading one of the vengeance-seeking psalms one day, I realized I felt about Jim much like the psalmist felt about those who’d maligned him. I sensed the Spirit leading me to pray not just “Lord, I have these wrathful feelings about Jim,” but “Lord, pour out your wrath on Jim.” I didn’t ask for teeth-breaking, snail-sliming, or anything that creative. But I did ask him to make Jim feel the pain he’d inflicted on me. And after confessing my spitefulness, I dissolved into a pool of tears—broken before God, and feeling like snail goo myself.

I don’t know what God did to Jim in response to my prayer. That’s not my business; I’d turned all that over to God. But I do know that as I offered my sinful, hurt, bitter heart to God, the Holy Spirit lanced an infected spiritual boil. Ugly junk flowed out; in its place God’s healing love flowed in. I even began to feel genuine compassion for Jim, and a new capacity to forgive him.

—Mark Roberts in No Holds Barred

My Response: Someone I’d like to see pay for the pain he’s caused me is ___.

Thought to Apply: The Psalms in Hebrew are earthy and rough. They aren’t prayers of nice people couched in genteel language.  —Eugene Peterson (educator & translator)

Adapted from God’s Outrageous Claims (Zondervan, 1997, 2005)

Prayer for the Week: Thank You, Lord, for psalms that show how a man after Your own heart approached You. Help me learn from them.



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