Reality Check

Psalm 129
1“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”— let Israel now say—
2“Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.
3The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows.”
4The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.
5May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward!
6Let them be like the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up,
7with which the reaper does not fill his hand nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
8nor do those who pass by say, “The blessing of the Lord be upon you! We bless you in the name of the Lord!”

The tone of the Songs of Ascents changes with this prayer. The writer acknowledges freely, and rather bitterly, that life is not always great. There are enemies out there, both temporal and spiritual, that would assail the believer.

It’s tough to define “enemy” today. There are those who would smile into your face and slam you to their friends. There are people who hate you merely because you disagree about something. There are those who desire your absence because you don’t give approval to their sin. And the devil constantly seeks ways to derail every single one of us. So, while “enemies” don’t seem to be prevalent in my life, they are. I just choose to ignore them. But that isn’t always possible.

What we find in this psalm is the same as we have seen frequently; a surrendering of those who hate you into the hands of the Lord. It is okay to tell God about your struggle with evil and with haters. In fact, that is the best thing you can do. But taking them on with your own resources will probably exacerbate the trouble. The psalmist faces life realistically, acknowledging that no everyone is going to love you or treat you well, but they are still God’s problem. There is comfort in that.