Monday, February 2, 2009

Psalm 139:19-20

O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me- those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil! Psalm 139:19-20 NRSV

Although on the surface, this verse is my least favorite of the whole psalm, I know that I am a person of explosive temper and I have been known to say things in the heat of the moment that I later regretted. These words are like that - something that was said in the heat of the moment. These are words spoken in anger, something said that attacks, lashes out, hurts and destroys.

The psalmist begins by saying they wish God would get rid of the wicked - really to get rid of those who are attacking the psalmist. Why else would the words "and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me" be used?

It is almost a complete change of attitude and personality. We have been examining God and praising God for what God knows and does compared to humans. Then suddenly we get this angry outburst. Perhaps it was there all along, just under the surface waiting to interrupt. It is kind of like communicating with one's spouse. Sometimes even in the calmest of discussions, something can trigger memories or feelings one has kept hidden and not dealt with. Of course, this often leads couples into arguments that are probably the least helpful.

in the psalm, there is a change from "these people are attacking me" to "you need to take care of these people because they are really attacking you, God!" It is like the psalmist is saying that they are really angry on God's behalf! The psalmist seems to realize that asking God to lash out to those who are hurting the individual is probably not going to work - one needs to bring God into the equation (for those who know the Bowen theory, I would label this Triangulation!).

When have you lashed out in anger - to others, to yourself, or to God? Take time today to examine things in your life that are making you angry - but don't bring God or even self-judgment into the argument yet! We'll save that part for tomorrow.

God, help me to see where I have let anger lead in my thoughts, words and deeds. Give me discernment without judgment. Thank you. Amen.

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