Psalm 129 - Down But Not Out
Psalm 129:1-8 NIV
“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,” let Israel say;
“they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me.
Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long.
But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”
May all who hate Zion be turned back in shame.
May they be like grass on the roof, which withers before it can grow;
a reaper cannot fill his hands with it, nor one who gathers fill his arms.
May those who pass by not say to them, “The blessing of the Lord be on you; we bless you in the name of the Lord.”
We may be down but Not Out. Be as resilient as Jesus.
This Psalm is about Israel’s afflictions throughout its history, even from its youth, when Israel had to be rescued from their slavery in Egypt. This was one of the 15 Psalms to be sung to prepare the hearts of pilgrims from all over Israel when they travelled back to Jerusalem to celebrate important festivals. Likewise, we can apply this Psalm to ourselves as we prepare our hearts for worship.
Like the Israelites, we too can reflect on the difficulties we have faced over the years and sing, “they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained victory over me.” We may be down, but not out, and we are going to worship God.
My haters may have “plowed my back and made their furrows long”; our enemies may have hurt us and left deep emotional scars, and we may even still be suffering the effects of their malicious actions, but that should not shake our faithfulness in God.
We should have the same ‘never say out’ attitude when we come to God every morning in our devotion. God desires us to have this attitude, but He knows our struggle and understands too, if we don’t. What God wants us to learn from Jesus is his resilient heart. Do we remember Jesus’ last words before he died? He said, “It is finished”. We have to finish our race, faithfully. Jesus was down (captured) but he was never out, he finished the race to save us.
The Lord “cut me free from the cords of the wicked” because “the Lord is righteous”. That’s what God will do for us with the problems we face in the physical world, and what Jesus has done for us spiritually, to free us from our bondage to sin. We were all enslaved by sin, but Jesus cut that away, with his sacrifice 2,000 years ago. God is righteous, He remembers us.
We will still pray for our haters. When we were lost, we too “were turned back in shame”. So will our haters be. But Jesus' sacrifice is not only for us, he did it for them as well.
Like the seeds that fell on the rocks in Jesus’ parable of the sower, our haters will “be like grass on the roof, which withers before it can grow”. They will reap nothing nor fill their arms with any harvest. Let’s not draw near to them, for their work will come to none. Jesus will lead us to victory; let us remain in His vine.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit.