Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth" (Psalm 129)

A Song of Ascents

Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth, let Israel now say.
Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,
Yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed on my back;
They made their furrows long.
The Lord is righteous;
He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.

Let all those who hate Zion be put to shame and turned back.
Let them be as the grass on the housetops,
Which withers before it grows up,
With which the reaper does not fill his hand,
Nor he who binds sheaves, his arms,
Neither let those who pass by say,
"The blessing of the Lord be upon you;
We bless you in the name of the Lord."

- Psalm 129

Gayle was talking this morning about what a little tick she was when she was little, so that she got thoroughly bullied and picked on. And when she wised up, for instance not making a point of reporting rule violations to show what a good girl she was, they kept right on plowing on her back. She learned that people are merciless, never forgetting what you've been.

But she was much wiser than I was in the same place. For her, it wasn't about how wrong they were; it was about how she had brought this on herself, but also to learn not to be merciless like that herself.

In short, she humbled herself, and the result was that she was delivered from her folly. She learned wisdom, and so God cut in pieces the cords of wickedness in her life. And what's more, he did so by means of those making long their furrows on her back, turning their malice to good, just as he did for Joseph in Egypt. When she got to high school the persecution abruptly stopped, just as it is written, "The wrath of man will praise you" (Psalm 76:10).

She didn't know Psalm 129 in those days, but she humbled herself and so found the way of ascent that it describes. Indeed, it's God's mercy that I get to learn from her about it. I still don't have this down by any means.

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