Do we really pray to God against ourselves? That can’t be. And yet, if we pay attention, we’ll probably find that we do it quite a bit. I can’t help but wonder, and worry about, how many times have I done that?
It’s not even a question of whether I’ve done it or not. It’s happened. It will happen again.
And it happens to all of us.
If you read “Psalm 26 – How can anybody possibly live a perfect life?”, then you know that when you read the key verse for today, you’ll also see that David also prayed against himself. But you also maybe know something about why, in the end, God won’t hold that against us.
Above and beyond what you just read, there’s one more thing in Psalm 28 that shows David’s love for God and his acknowledgment of God’s promises to those who love Him. It’s the first two verses, which I saved for the end.
Ps 28:1 To you I call, O LORD my Rock;
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
Ps 28:2 Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.
David knows, as should we, that God listens to us. That He wants us to look to Him. And that He will help us, when we ask.
Here’s how our commentary author put it.
David is not self-righteous in these statements. That is the problem we feel in statements asking God to judge others. It is what Jesus was warning about in the command not to judge, since he went on to speak about trying to take a speck out of another’s eye when we have a beam in our own. That is a real difficulty for us, and a common one. But it is not a problem David has here. David has already approached God on the basis of his mercy, that is, acknowledging his own sinfulness. But even more to the point, he begins his petition (in vv. 3–5), not with an appeal to God to judge the wicked but with the request that God keep him from being dragged along into their evil stratagems. In other words, David is aware that in himself he is able to behave exactly like the wicked. He knows that anything any other sinner is capable of doing, he too is capable of doing.
That is why he is so anxious to hear God’s voice and to receive answers to his prayers. Apart from the lifegiving, sustaining power of God’s words, he will be swept along with the wicked and will perish with them.
So, by all means, call out to God. But also recognize that we, but for the grace of God, are subject to the same repayment that He’s going to take on other people, who don’t love Jesus, who have done the same things we do.
Also, don’t forget, one of the things Jesus commanded us to do is to bring the Gospel, the news of salvation through Jesus, to those same people.
None of this is easy. But it can be done, with the strength, power, and patience we can have through the Holy Spirit.
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