Monday, June 8

Psalm 35:19-24:  Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye. They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land. They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it.” Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord. Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God; do not let them gloat over me.

This Psalm of lament gives us a glimpse into what Christ might have been praying silently as he stood on trial before Caiaphas. Or when he withdrew from his disciples to pray in secret, especially after the religious establishment had started plotting against him.

But David's psalm can be prayed by any victim of false accusations. Being falsely accused can make a person wonder if something is wrong with them, even though they knew they were innocent. If you have ever been misunderstood, you know what it is like. If you ever had good intentions, but then had your words or actions interpreted in the worst possible way, then perhaps you can identify. 

This is what victims of racism face on a regular basis. When we consider how it feels to be misunderstood or falsely accused, we can empathize with their plight. And we can pray for them. This Psalm gives us some words for it. 

One caveat: the vindication prayed for above is ultimately the righteousness that is from God, through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. It is not from ourselves; we receive it by faith. 

Now try praying this Psalm from several different points of view: [1] from your own (if you can recall a time you were falsely accused); [2] from the point of view of a victim of racism; [3] from the point of view of a fellow believer facing persecution in another country, and [4] identifying with Christ’s point of view (who unites all perspectives in himself, through the cross and ascension).