Reflections from the Psalms

Psalm 129

…yet they have not prevailed against me.”

~ Psalm 129:2b

This psalm opens with what must have been a common phrase among the Jews, “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth” (v.1).  Although a phrase that perhaps was not untrue, it does have a bit of a “poor me” sentiment.  So, this psalmist offers a corrective; adding to the refrain for these Israelites to rehearse, “yet they have not prevailed against me” (v.2).   This expanded phrase gives acknowledgement to the reality of God’s protection and preservation despite our perceived experience. 

Verses 3-4, in a more vivid way, describe the affliction experienced but rightly conclude with the prevailing truth that “the LORD is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked.” (v.4).

The remainder of the psalm (v.5-8) is mildly imprecatory, meaning it invokes a curse or calls down evil on those who do not love God, on those who hate God and his people.  The statements of cursing are not as severe as in some other imprecatory psalms, therefore I said ‘mildly’, but nonetheless these are clearly not ‘well-wishes’. 

The statements of cursing here are parallel contrasts to the statements of blessing found in the directly preceding psalms (Ps. 126-128).  If you can imagine a caravan of faithful Jews traveling to Jerusalem and singing these Songs of Ascent in succession, the truth connections would be clear, convincing, convicting and comforting.

Praise the LORD that through Jesus Christ he has not and will not let evildoers prevail.  He is righteous and just and full of grace.  In him we are blessed!