Scripture: Psalm 35: 13 But as for me, when (my enemies) were sick, I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting. I prayed with head bowed on my bosom, 14 as though I grieved for a friend or a brother; I went about as one who laments for a mother, bowed down and in mourning. 15 But at my stumbling they gathered in glee, they gathered together against me; ruffians whom I did not know tore at me without ceasing.
Observation: King David, writing this psalm, is asking the Lord to come to his aid. David describes how he has prayed for those who persecute him, yet they do not return the favor.
Application: This passage reminds me of Jesus when he says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) Our assumption would be that treating our enemies well might lead to reconciliation, which would be great. But truth is, that’s not what usually happens. People who are against us often remain that way. Does that get us off the hook then? No. Our faith calls us to persist in prayer for those who oppose us, and even to love/serve them. This really challenges me this morning.
Are there people in your life who are a pain? Are you praying for them, or avoiding them? What would it look like for you to love/serve them today? I know this is asking a lot, and in our own strength we cannot do it. That’s why we need the Lord.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, your teachings are fairly simple and straightforward, but they’re also really hard. If I’m honest, the last thing I want to do with those who oppose me is to pray for them and/or serve them. In my own strength I cannot do it. But praise be to God for the Holy Spirit that lives in all believers. Grant us strength to reflect your love for others – even those who are a pain in the neck. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.