Psalm 35 and Matthew 7.1-2 – God’s mercy and our presumption.
Posted: 8 February 2012 in Matthew, Psalms

“Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me….. Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them. For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul. Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall…..”

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

Reading psalm 35 I had the feeling that the psalmist was praying in a way that only Christ had the right to pray, but I was not quite sure why. Then I realised that, as God Incarnate, it was only Christ who had the right to judge his persecutors. He was exercising a right which is God’s alone. In Matthew 7.1-2 (above) we are warned explicity against abbrogating that right to ourselves. Instead we are told to pray for our enemies. Yet, although it is only Christ who has the right to judge his enemies, he is probably also alone in not having exercised that right during his earthly ministry. It is we who seek divine retribution upon our enemies, even though it is also we who (like the psalmist) have no right to do so. In Luke 23.34 it is God Incarnate who is depicted as doing what he commands us to do, in praying for his enemies:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

How different are God’s attitudes and our attitudes. We have been given an example in Jesus, but still it is we who act as if we had the divine privileges.

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