Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pentecost 13 B - Psalm 34:15-22

Psalm 34:15-22
Psalm 34 declares that the name of those who do evil will be blotted out from the face of the earth while the Lord will remember the brokenhearted and save those whose spirits are crushed. Of course broken hearts are often brought about by those who do evil and as the prophet Habakkuk points out the wicked prosper long enough for the righteous to wonder why. (Habakkuk 1:1ff) But the psalm declares it is the act of evil that slays the wicked while those who patiently endure troubles (albeit while crying out for help) will be rescued from whatever condemnation is reserved for those who oppose the way of righteousness. While we might interpret this psalm as being willing to wait for the scales of justice to ultimately and finally balance the equation between good and evil the psalmist sings of justice in the present tense and will not stand idly by while the wicked prosper. That means Psalm 34 might respond to Habakkuk’s question, “How long, O Lord, will the wicked prosper?” with a defiant, “no longer.” And so we live the future, which is the present tense of Psalm 34, whenever we tip the scales of justice in the favor of the troubled while setting our face (and our energy and resources) against those who do evil. The petition, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” has as much to do with our will as it does with God’s.

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