Friday, August 2, 2013

My paraphrase of Psalm 35 for responsive reading

Psalm 35
O Lord, contend with those who contend with me. 
Fight against those who fight against me.
Pick up your shield and rise to help me.  Take up your weapons and close ranks to meet my pursuers.
Cause me to know within the depths of my being that you are my sure deliverer.
Let those who seek my life be ashamed and disgraced;
Let those who plot evil against me be repulsed and brought to confusion.
Let them be driven off by the Angel of the Lord, just as chaff is driven off by the wind.
Let them slip and slide away as the Angel of the Lord pursues them!
(I simply cannot understand it.)  I did them not wrong, but they tried to ensnare me in a hidden net and trap me in a pit they had dug for me.
Let them self-implode!  Let them be caught with their own concealed net!  Let them stumble and fall into their own pit!
(In the meantime), I will continue to rejoice in you Lord as I wait for your deliverance.
Every part of my being will declare: “Who is like you Lord?  You rescue the oppressed from the oppressor and the poor and destitute from the plunderers.”
Persons given over to habitual acts of violence rise up against me and accuse me falsely.
I am deeply distressed because they reward me evil for good.
When they were sick, I was moved by their misfortune and fasted and prayed for them…
But my prayers were not appreciated.
To them I behaved as a friend, or even as a brother. 
I bowed down in sorrow as I would were I mourning for my mother.
But when I stumbled, they rejoiced. 
They took advantage of my weak moment and gathered together like scavengers lying in ambush, waiting for the opportune moment to rip into me like a pack of wild dogs.
When I tripped, they mocked me.
Like hungry beasts they wanted to tear me apart with their teeth.
O Lord, how long will you allow this to go on?
Break through their ranks and rescue me!  Save me from being devoured by ferocious lions.
Then I will thank you in the great assembly;
I will praise you before a large crowd of people!
Do not allow liars to gloat over me!
Do not allow those who hate me without cause triumph over me!
They don’t even try to make peace with others, but continually plot against the unsuspecting.
They open their mouths in a wide grimace as they shout, “Aha! Aha! Now we’ve got you cornered!”
This is not hidden from your view, O Lord. 
Do not remain silent or distant.
Be stirred up as an awakening warrior and come to my aid!
O Sovereign King, vindicate me according to your righteous judgment – do not grant them victory over me!
Do not allow them to walk away and say, “We got what we wanted.  We have destroyed him.”
To the contrary!  Let those who sought my demise be exposed and humiliated; let those who arrogantly stood up against me be clothed with shame and dishonor.
But then, on the other hand…let those who desired to see me vindicated shout with passionate abandon:  “Praise God!  Praise him who grants peace to his servants!”
(And because of this….I simply cannot help myself!) I can’t help praising you publicly and telling everyone about your justice!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen!  Amen!  Amen!

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