Most Powerful Prayers, #99 Battered down Psalm 35


The Scene:  The Psalmist, sick & weary  i.e. battered down, complains of Enemies and Friends who have become traitors.

 David_writes_Psalms  Psalms xxxv: 10 

But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up , that I may requite them.    11 By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.

The word requite in verse #10  means “repay, recompense. ” One commentator, Martin Geier, (German Theologian, 1614 – 1680) , has an interesting way of looking at it :   That I may requite them by repaying them with

(1), kindness for injuries (as in Psalms 35:13 ): the mark of a good and brave man to do good to all in his power, to hurt no one, even though provoked by wrong: or,  (2), punishment for wrong doing — that I may punish them; for am I not their magistrate, and the executioner of God’s justice!

John Calvin  sees “requite” as meaning #2 because it is coming from King David, and as a Royal person, he can make them pay for their allegations, but  I think #1 is more in tone with the Christian ethic for the rest of us and an example of what works on the individual level also works on the larger impersonal (communal, fellowship)  level.

David wishing for the Lord to reach over for his shield and buckler and smite his enemies, is something that is apropos for almost everyone at one time or another.  We bitterly moan that God works in His time but we only a limited amount of it, and do not want to dirty our hands with the job — God you do it.  You’ll be successful and I may not.  You do it because I could lose more than I already have and no one can vanquish you and I am weak and puny and still have a bit more to lose.


I hear you brother.

On Thursday I had to take an EMG / NCV test.  The test itself wasn’t bad, though there were points that where she placed her prongs on my skin & I screamed from pain and we had to stop.  The prongs are not points but rounded ends that just touch your skin; I found that bad enough and today I have black and blues were she placed them.  Running into Psalm 35 psalm today I really could relate because while I have many friends who asked about the test & are concerned, but when it comes to my family, they could care less, never checking or caring about me or Vincent. I would like to talk about it with them, but how do you interrupt someone only concerned about themselves and interject yourself?  I do not know how to do that without being rude.  I am at loss on that.

Oh my Uncle Arthur asks, he is always concerned and caring, but I am talking about those of my age,  & from those people whom I grew up with and bonded best, there is nothing, and so yes it does feel like treachery.  I hear of their interest in new found friends, of new people and place but of family?  There is nothing.  It is a constant lament and it does hurt me to the quick.

Sometimes I wonder about them; other times like now, I don’t wonder at all and realize that they are living in their Private Idaho.