The Daily Office: Day 71- Let God be the Judge
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil[a] of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, "Is not David hiding among us?"
1 O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. 2 O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.
3 For strangers[b] have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves. Selah
4 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. 5 He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them.
6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. 7 For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.
The Ziphites sought to betray David and hand him over to Saul. David writes this Psalm in the midst of their betrayal. (1 Samuel 23:19)
David prays the most basic and desperate prayer imaginable. "O God, save me!" In modern vernacular, we would just cry "HELP!" Somehow, God seems to always respond to David's desperate cries and he will answer our cries as well.
David asks God for vindication against his foes. Diyn is the Hebrew word for vindication. It is a legal term where God is implored to be both judge and umpire. David dare not vindicate himself, or judge his foe. He leaves that to the Lord.
God calls all followers of Jesus to love their enemies and leave the judgment to him. We sometimes get that backward. We think, "Sure God loves this person, but I don't. I am going to go after them with my own righteous anger and be vindicated!" This is a sure-fire way to become just as bad, if not worse than those who oppose us.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
Think of someone who has betrayed you or has been unkind. What might you do to display the love of Christ to this "enemy?" Leave all judgment to the Lord, who will bring all words and deeds into the light.
Lord, it is tempting to seek vindication and justification for myself with those who oppose me. Help me to do good to all men. Help me to know that evil is only overcome with good. I will cry out for your mercy and leave all judgment in your hands. Amen.