11 Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach,
especially to my neighbors,
and an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have been forgotten like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
terror on every side!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
16 Make your face shine on your servant;
save me in your steadfast love!
17 O Lord, let me not be put to shame,
for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
let them go silently to Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute,
which speak insolently against the righteous
in pride and contempt. (Ps 31:11-18 ESV)
As David ran from Saul he hid in caves and towns. But there was a danger in the towns as the people were afraid of Saul and one such city, even one that David and his men saved from the Philistines, were ready to hand David over. There was no safe place – even among the people David helped! We can only imagine the deep distress David must have felt. This was the background to so many of his prayers. His cries for justice are certainly understandable and perhaps one of the things that helped him endure such scorn and terror. He knew that God is just and it is in that fact David put his hope to one day be redeemed from his plight.
I read from a book not long ago written by a professor who came from worn torn are of what was once Yugoslavia. He spoke of the “ethnic cleansing” that went on there for so long and how that left people devastated and angry and hurting. He pointed out that the god that so many want to imagine the God of the Bible to be – a god of love and forgiveness without judgment – is not a comforting god at all. That kind of god does not inspire peace but rather forces people to take up the innate need for justice on their own. “If God won’t do it, then I must!” We need a just God.
Of course, God is just AND forgiving. He is able to forgive His own through their trust in His provided savior – one who would take God’s justice onto his own shoulders and bear it. It is the cross that shows us that God does not overlook justice. AND it is the cross that shows that God will bring justice to those who oppose Him. We too can cry out for justice!
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Ps 7, 27, 31, 34, 52