Wednesday on the Word: Psalm 35 and Jeremiah 29

On Wednesdays I aim to offer my own reflection on Scripture. I think I will likely take a large chunk or a whole letter at a time, but today I will only comment on two passages that were a part of the daily readings in the Lectionary.

If you haven’t read Lord of the Rings then I’ll give you fair warning that there are spoilers below the picture. Also, you should read it now before you read anything else.

Don’t rely on the movies for the full story. The raising of the Shire is left completely out of the films. There’s a scene at the end when Saruman is being chased out of the Shire after our heroes return, and as he goes he tries to stab Frodo only to be turned away by the Mithril Mail shirt he wears. Sam and others want to kill Saruman at that point, but Frodo turns them back:

‘No, Sam!’ said Frodo. ‘Do not kill him even now. For he has not hurt me. And in any case I do not wish him to be slain in this evil mood. He was great once, of a noble kind that we should not dare to raise our hands against. He is fallen, and his cure is beyond us; but I would still spare him, in the hope that he may find it.’

To me that gives me a better glimpse, a better hope in Jesus than the Psalm for today does. Frodo sees a person as a person, even after they have become evil in most folks eyes–even after the old wizard tried to kill him.

Psalm 35, by contrast, has the writer calling on God to bring ‘ruin’ to his enemies, and for their path to be ‘slippery’ and ‘dark’. After his enemies are entangled and fall into the pit, then will the writer rejoice in the LORD.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had these thoughts and prayers many times. Anyone else try to low key bargain with God when you pray sometimes. Haha. Whenever I’m at the river I will be walking and praying and recognize that I’m bargaining, and then try and conceal it even more as if. And sometimes I’ll even say that I don’t mean to be bargaining which I quickly realize is an attempt to schmooze God into giving me what I want anyway.

Anyway… seems like the Psalmist was doing the same things as I do. Maybe that’s a takeaway. But I’m not exactly sure how to square these pleas with how I understand Jesus and the Great News. For me on this I’ll take Frodo 🙂 So you can take that for what it’s worth and run away quickly from any of my future reflections on scripture if you wanna… But on to the next one.

I used to go around campus and whenever I would see Jeremiah 29:11 on someone’s dry erase board, I would include Jeremiah 29:10. We do like the verse that says that our plans will be prospered, and I don’t doubt that God does and will take care of us. BUT, the preceding verse (29:10), indicates that this hope and the future that is in store won’t take place until after 70 years in Babylon!

70 Years.

That’s a lifetime. That may mean that whatever I am pursuing, or to use the hip word now, whatever I am aiming to manifest, may not occur while I am living. Just as Moses didn’t get to see the promised land, you know? To me including verse 10 with verse 11 is essential. It begs patience and perseverance. It requires hope and faith.

Anyway, I’m thinking of a trek through Philippians over the next several Wednesdays. Drop a comment below if you have other suggestions or thoughts on my thoughts.

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