Song 5

plant blooming from chained flower pot
Image credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/joost-ijmuiden/5174371841/">Joost J. Bakker</a>

Psalm 5

Let me bend your ear, God.
Hear how troubled I am.
Listen to my call, my prayer to you,
My God, my boss.

God, in the morning you hear me speak.
In the morning I make my case, and then I wait.

God, you’re not the kind who revels in wrong.
Evil won’t hang out with you.
Braggers can’t meet your gaze.
You hate evildoers.
You annihilate liars.
God detests violence and dishonesty.

As for me, I will enter your house
Because you love me.
In your temple, I’ll bow toward you
And respect you.

Consider my enemies,
And clear the way for me
So I can go the right way.
They can’t tell the truth.
They’re bent on destruction.
Their throats are open graves.
They have forked tongues.
Let them get what’s coming to them, God.
Let them be on the receiving end of their own schemes.
Let them be thrown out
Because they’ve crossed the line.
It’s you they’ve betrayed.

Even so, let everyone who remains true rejoice,
And sing with joy.
Surround them with your protection
So they can shower their love on you.
God, you bless the good,
And your kindness is their shield.

While this is similar to Song 3, in it’s pleading for help in the struggle against enemies, this song takes a much more humble, and ultimately more powerful, approach.

Rather than invoking God to break and smash the opposition, this song expresses the longing that those who act treacherously would simply fall into their own traps, and that meanwhile that God would protect the innocent from coming to harm.

Rather than taking the opposition to war, in this song, the singer takes the enemy to court. The clever part about the case is that it shifts the identity of the victim. The victim isn’t the singer, it’s God: “It’s you they’ve betrayed.”

Maybe psychologists would call this transference. If that’s what it is, then it’s a healthy kind of transference, because it gets you out from under being a victim. If the victim is God, then God can take care of it – however God likes. It’s not anything that need concern the singer any longer. The singer is free.

Quite often the most paralyzing aspect of our situation is that we feel (rightly or wrongly) that we’re the victim. “They” did such-and-such to us. “They” won’t let us. “They” say this about us. Or, perhaps we’re a victim of circumstance. A downturn in the market. A bad company policy. A rainy day. The wrongdoings that we’ve suffered may indeed be real, but the longer we play the victim, the longer we extend the pain they cause us.

Giving your troubles to God doesn’t mean you’ll never have to deal with troubles, but if you’re no longer a victim, you can find a great deal more freedom for dealing with them when they come.