Tag Archives: injustice

Just Stomp Me. Selah.

“Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take [it]; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.” – Psalm 7:5

FullSizeRender (1)Selah. A musical notation calling us to pause, to rest for moment and consider what has just been said. In this verse David asks God to let his enemy “persecute” him and essentially pound him into the earth! Why? Let’s think about it.

Out of Context

Should we read this verse as a stand-alone statement, apart from the context in which it was written, David would appear to have some serious mental problems. Is that what he is telling us to think about?

In this one verse there are three separate actions for which David is asking God to allow.

  1. Let the enemy persecute and take my soul.
  2. Let the enemy tread down (walk all over and stomp on) my life.
  3. Let the enemy lay my honour in the dust.

Why would David ask God to allow these things? Was he crazy? Not hardly.

In Proper Context

When we examine the full context of Psalm 7,  what we see is David crying out to God for deliverance from another one of his enemies, Cush the Benjamite. Evidently Cush had made some serious accusations concerning David’s actions, accusing him of some very bad things.

“O LORD my God, if I have done this: If there is iniquity in my hands, If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me, Or have plundered my enemy without cause…” – Psalm 7:3-4 NKJV

Iniquity…doing evil to the one with whom he was at peace…plundering his enemy without cause… What in the world did Cush think David did? We may never know.

However, David was so confident that whatever Cush was accusing him of was a fabrication – a lie – that he was willing to suggest his own destruction should the accusation be true.

Making Application

Are you living in such a way that you could pray with confidence: “Lord, let my enemy destroy me, even drag my soul to hell, should I actually be guilty of whatever he’s accusing me of.”

If not, then maybe we should pray another prayer, one in which David asked God to show him anything that needed changing.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24 KJV

I’d say it’s far better to let God do a work on us before our enemy does a number on us.

 

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We’re All Sinners. Selah.

“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” – Psalm 4:4

FullSizeRender (1)Selah. A musical notation calling us to pause, to rest for a moment and consider what has just been said. In this verse, we are told to “commune” with our own hearts upon our beds. What about? Let’s think about it.

How Long?

Before, in the previous selah in Psalm 4:2, David was asking the question “How long?” How long would those whom he had once trusted betray him? How long would his former friends treat him like an enemy? How long would they promote lies over truth, and turn his “glory into shame?”

You and I may not be kings in exile, or have former commanders in our personal guard out for our head. However, there may be people who lie about you; spread untruths about you at work; misrepresent you to your children, or withhold that little bit of evidence just to win their case against you. How long will they get away with it?

You observe the culture. You watch the news and see the movies. You shake your head with disgust as you witness sin and shame, practically every deviancy known to man, promoted like it was the new gospel. You narrow your eyes and grit your teeth and whisper under your breath, “They should be glad I’m not God.” How long will God let them get away with it?

Awful Angry

Stand in awe, and sin not…” The Septuagint renders it “Be ye angry, and sin not…” The same is repeated by the Apostle Paul in Eph. 4:26 when he says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” So why awe in one and angry in the other?

The word translated both as “awe” and “angry” is an interesting one. Consider Strong’s treatment of it:

רָגַז râgaz, raw-gaz’; a primitive root; to quiver (with any violent emotion, especially anger or fear):—be afraid, stand in awe, disquiet, fall out, fret, move, provoke, quake, rage, shake, tremble, trouble, be wroth.

So, when David is telling us to stand in “awe,” he is not telling us to do something like look up to the stars and go, “WOW!” No, David is giving us permission, as Paul did, to be angry; angry to the point of violently shaking, full of emotion and rage.

Just without sin.

Go to Bed?

So, just to make it clear, it’s OK to get angry, just as long as it’s a righteous anger (the last thing we want to be found guilty of is a lack of emotion when confronted with perversion and injustice; apathy is its own sin).  But in an apparent contrast with the later writing of Paul, what does King David suggest we do?

Go to bed and think about it? He said, “…commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

But wait! I thought the Apostle Paul said we shouldn’t go to bed angry? What’s the difference?

The difference is GRACE, pure and simple. And hallelujah for that!

Humble Communion

Go ahead, get angry at the sin of the world. Go ahead, tremble with indignant anger at the way the glory of God is impugned on a day-to-day basis. Go ahead, quiver and shake with anger over the way people have been treating you – you have that right. But there’s something else you need to do: Remember the grace of God.

No, David is not telling us to go to bed angry and stew on it; he is encouraging us to remember that we are sinners, also.

To “commune with your own heart” means to reflect on yourself and your own condition. And when we add to that the words “be still” (דָּמַם [dā·mǎm]), which according to some* carries with it the idea of wailing and lamenting, along with being silent, what we have is the suggestion to be angry, but to remember we are sinners, too.

When David was treated horribly, he got angry, but he also remembered that if it wasn’t for God’s mercy he would suffer the same fate as the wicked. So, although we should get angry, at times, it is important for us to remember that although God is righteous, He is also gracious and good.

Thank Him for His mercy as you commune with your soul, and let Him handle those other people. Selah.

 


 

*William Lee Holladay and Ludwig Köhler, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 72.

*James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

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Another Sitter Strikes Again

Tripping While Scrolling

Have you ever experienced it? It’s that moment when you about break a finger when you see something as you’re scrolling through recent news articles.

It’s that wait-a-moment! moment when you stop scrolling down on your smartphone and try to quickly go back up and find the story you think you saw, but it took a second to register in your mind.

Well, this morning during a break between school bus routes I came across one of those scrolling moments. I was scrolling down through recent news stories, reading the headlines, and then said, “Wait a minute!” I had to go back and read further.

Solidarity for Sitters

I don’t see how, but maybe you are unaware of all the hullabaloo surrounding people who choose to sit during the singing of the National Anthem or recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. If so, then maybe you didn’t hear what State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, recently did.

According to an article in The Blaze and the local news from which it got the story, Sen. Nasheed refused to stand during the pledge to the American flag out of her desire to stand (ironically) in solidarity with a certain football player which shall remain nameless.

According to reports, she said:

“I decided to not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance today to stand in solidarity with the cause of injustice that Colin Kaepernick has shined a bright light upon. I am not anti-America, and in fact, it is because I love this country that I take this stand… I am doing so not because of past transgressions by America, but to call attention to current injustices here in this state and country.”

Current Injustices

The following are the list of injustices Sen. Nasheed says America is currently guilty of, and thereby deserves to be protested.

• The injustice of police brutality — the refusal to mandate police body cameras;

• The injustice of poverty — the underfunding of our public schools;

• The injustice of voter suppression — passing Voter ID laws;

• The injustice of not having health care — not expanding Medicaid;

• The injustice of unlivable wages — refusing to raise minimum wage and the right-to-work attack on labor;

• The injustice of unequal pay for women;

• The injustice of mass incarceration; and

• The injustice of economic disparity.

May I just address each one of the injustices mentioned in light of my recent trip to Zimbabwe? Thank you.

• The injustice of police brutality — the refusal to mandate police body cameras;

I’m sorry, but I’m sick and tired of this “police brutality” business. With few exceptions, the police in this country are angels compared to the police in so many other places. Brutality? Maybe she should visit the Sudan or Iraq. Why not compare our supposed brutality to that of the cops in Iran? Ever been to an eastern European jail?

You will actually stay seated during the pledge because of the refusal to mandate police body cameras, and you call that brutality? Seriously?

• The injustice of poverty — the underfunding of our public schools;

The injustice of poverty? Underfunding our public schools? Seriously, how is being poor an injustice when the poor in this country are infinitely more wealthy than the majority of people in Zimbabwe? And did you know that in many other places school is not free?

So, our poor are actually wealthy, they get free education, and it all comes from the government – yet it’s unjust. Right. And how much more funding do we need to give these schools, huh? How many more billions?

• The injustice of voter suppression — passing Voter ID laws;

So, it’s injustice – as opposed to being just and lawful – to require that a person placing a vote in an election actually show proof he/she is a legal citizen of this country? Do you even understand the definition of “justice”?

If people in other countries will stand in line…lines that are being bombed and shot at…just so they can have one chance at placing their vote…you think it’s unjust to require that people here acquire an ID? How spoiled are the people you represent?

• The injustice of not having health care — not expanding Medicaid;

I’m sorry, but didn’t your president pass his signature legislation called the Affordable Care Act? Is that not working for you?

And you talk about not having health care… Have you ever been to a village where children are literally dying because of sinus infections, all because they can’t afford to buy medicine that we can get over the counter here? And you call our health care unjust?

• The injustice of unlivable wages — refusing to raise minimum wage and the right-to-work attack on labor;

Honestly, you’re complaining about how much money people are not making, yet they are making money – they have jobs. Ever been to a country like Zimbabwe where the unemployment is near 90%? You won’t stand for the pledge to the flag of a country, even though that country offers unemployment benefits, housing, healthcare, food stamps, schooling, day care, pre-natal care, cell phones, and even internet to those who don’t even want to work? How’s that unjust??? Except maybe for the taxpayer.

Again, a minimum wage that’s not high enough? I’ve seen people selling WORMS on the side of the road for pennies, and you complain about people not being paid enough to work at McDonald’s? Unbelievable.

• The injustice of unequal pay for women;

This is a load of absolute baloney and you dagdum know it. Please, somebody show me jobs where women get paid less just because they’re women.

• The injustice of mass incarceration; and

I suppose letting drug dealers, rapists, muggers, etc. back out on the street just because of their skin color would be the best choice?

• The injustice of economic disparity.

I’m sorry, Senator, but you are actually serving in the wrong country and under that wrong Constitution. Here in America we have a form of government that is supposed to reward hard work and ingenuity, not punish it by spreading the wealth around and making everything “fair.” I think you’d be more happy under a dictatorship or Communism. That is what you really want, right?

Please forgive me for going on a rant, but I’m just tired of all the stupidity these days. I had to say something.

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Just Stomp Me. Selah.

“Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take [it]; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.” – Psalm 7:5

FullSizeRender (1)Selah. A musical notation calling us to pause, to rest for moment and consider what has just been said. In this verse David asks God to let his enemy “persecute” him and essentially pound him into the earth! Why? Let’s think about it.

Out of Context

Should we read this verse as a stand-alone statement, apart from the context in which it was written, David would appear to have some serious mental problems. Is that what he is telling us to think about?

In this one verse there are three separate actions for which David is asking God to allow.

  1. Let the enemy persecute and take my soul.
  2. Let the enemy tread down (walk all over and stomp on) my life.
  3. Let the enemy lay my honour in the dust.

Why would David ask God to allow these things? Was he crazy? Not hardly.

In Proper Context

When we examine the full context of Psalm 7,  what we see is David crying out to God for deliverance from another one of his enemies, Cush the Benjamite. Evidently Cush had made some serious accusations concerning David’s actions, accusing him of some very bad things.

“O LORD my God, if I have done this: If there is iniquity in my hands, If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me, Or have plundered my enemy without cause…” – Psalm 7:3-4 NKJV

Iniquity…doing evil to the one with whom he was at peace…plundering his enemy without cause… What in the world did Cush think David did? We may never know.

However, David was so confident that whatever Cush was accusing him of was a fabrication – a lie – that he was willing to suggest his own destruction should the accusation be true.

Making Application

Are you living in such a way that you could pray with confidence: “Lord, let my enemy destroy me, even drag my soul to hell, should I actually be guilty of whatever he’s accusing me of.”

If not, then maybe we should pray another prayer, one in which David asked God to show him anything that needed changing.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24 KJV

I’d say it’s far better to let God do a work on us before our enemy does a number on us.

 

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We’re All Sinners. Selah.

“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” – Psalm 4:4

FullSizeRender (1)Selah. A musical notation calling us to pause, to rest for moment and consider what has just been said. In this verse we are told to “commune” with our own hearts upon our beds. What about? Let’s think about it.

How Long?

Before the previous selah in Psalm 4:2, David was asking the question “How long?” How long would those whom he had once trusted betray him? How long would his former friends treat him like an enemy. How long would they promote lies over truth, and turn his “glory into shame?”

You and I may not be kings in exile, or have former commanders in our personal guard out for our head. However, there may be people who lie about you; spread untruths about you at work; misrepresent you to your children; or withhold that little bit of evidence just to win their case against you. How long will they get away with it?

You observe the culture. You watch the news and see the movies. You shake your head with disgust as you witness sin and shame, practically every deviancy known to man, promoted like it was the new gospel. You narrow your eyes and grit your teeth and whisper under your breath, “They should be glad I’m not God.” How long will God let them get away with it?

Awful Angry

Stand in awe, and sin not…” The Septuagint renders it “Be ye angry, and sin not…” The same is repeated by the Apostle Paul in Eph. 4:26 when he says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” So why awe in one and angry in the other?

The word translated both as “awe” and “angry” is an interesting one. Consider Strong’s treatment of it:

רָגַז râgaz, raw-gaz’; a primitive root; to quiver (with any violent emotion, especially anger or fear):—be afraid, stand in awe, disquiet, fall out, fret, move, provoke, quake, rage, shake, tremble, trouble, be wroth.

So, when David is telling us to stand in “awe,” he is not telling us to do something like look up to the stars and go, “WOW!” No, David is giving us permission, as Paul did, to be angry; angry to the point of violently shaking, full of emotion and rage.

Just without sin.

Go to Bed?

So, just to make it clear, it’s OK to get angry, just as long as it’s a righteous anger (the last thing we want to be found guilty of is a lack of emotion when confronted with perversion and injustice; apathy is its own sin).  But in an apparent contrast with the later writing of Paul, what does King David suggest we do?

Go to be and think about it? He said, “…commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

But wait! I thought the Apostle Paul said we shouldn’t go to bed angry? What’s the difference?

The difference is GRACE, pure and simple. And hallelujah for that!

Humble Communion

Go ahead, get angry at the sin of the world. Go ahead, tremble with indignant anger at the way the glory of God is impuned on a day-to-day basis. Go ahead, quiver and shake with anger over the way people have been treating you – you have that right. But there’s something else you need to do: Remember the grace of God.

No, David is not telling us to go to bed angry and stew on it; he is encouraging us to remember that we are sinners, also.

To “commune with your own heart” means to reflect on yourself and your own condition. And when we add to that the words “be still” (דָּמַם [dā·mǎm]), which according to some* carries with it the idea of wailing and lamenting, along with being silent, what we have is the suggestion to be angry, but to remember we are sinners, too.

When David was treated horribly, he got angry, but he also remembered that if it wasn’t for God’s mercy he would suffer the same fate as the wicked. So, although we should get angry, at times, it is important for us to remember that although God is righteous, He is also gracious and good.

Thank Him for His mercy as you commune with your soul, and let Him handle those other people. Selah.

 


 

*William Lee Holladay and Ludwig Köhler, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 72.

*James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

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