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.
3 The plowers plowed upon my back;
they made long their furrows.”
4 The LORD is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.
5 May all who hate Zion
be put to shame and turned backward!
6 Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
which withers before it grows up,
7 with which the reaper does not fill his hand
nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
8 nor do those who pass by say,
“The blessing of the LORD be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the LORD!”
(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
[Theme] Look to the Righteous Lord
Since its founding, Israel has been constantly subjected to invasion and oppression by neighboring countries. This poem uses anthropomorphic means to record Israel’s past experiences: “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”and “The plowers plowed upon my back;they made long their furrows.”. Such a description is particularly heavy to read.
We can feel the poet’s bitterness, his persistence, and yet his hope for God because the poet also says, “Greatly have they afflicted me…,yet they have not prevailed against me.” and “The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.”
Verses 5-8 are the poet’s turn to God’s cry, and although it reads as if the poet is speaking ill of Him (and this poem is indeed a poem of curses). The more we realize that God is the One who judges according to His righteousness, the more we can understand that it is the poet appealing to God, asking God to make a fair judgment against those enemies who oppose and attack God’s people.
Every believer in Christ inevitably experiences pain and trauma in his or her lifetime. What have happened in the past, specifically those unpleasant experiences and things that we would rather forget and be afraid to remember again? From another perspective, how can we see God’s deeds in these past painful events, so that we can perceive God’s will? Let us try to pray to God, “Please help me, let me know why You want this to happen?” I hope that in this way, I will be able to turn past curses into blessings. In this way, not only will we be less self-lamenting or self-pitying, but we can find hope in despair by our faith in God.
Today let’s take a little bit of time to contemplate those past experiences that will always bother and bind us. As we have our devotional time to worship God together, let us come before the Lord and ask His righteousness to manifest to us and let God Himself cut the cords of the wicked one by one!
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench.” (Matthew 12:20) May the righteous Lord judge according to Your righteousness!
Psalm 129:4 The Lord is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.