Only the man Jesus Christ could really pray this Psalm. This Psalm gives us a window into the heart of Jesus.
No one but Jesus could truly pray, “Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness” If the LORD judged me according to my righteousness, I would be utterly destroyed -- for my own righteousness is as filthy rags before Him..
David prayed this Psalm because he was being tormented and pursued by a man against whom he had done nothing wrong. This is why David says, “If I have done evil to him ... let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground.” (verses 3-5) Perhaps in this situation, David was blameless -- but no man but Christ is blameless in all situations. Jesus never offended, but we all offend (James 3:2). All but Christ have bloody hands; all have done evil (Romans 3:10-12). So only Christ can pray this Psalm unconditionally. No one but Christ can ask for God’s justice, without also begging for God’s mercy.
Who are the enemies of Christ? The enemies include my own fleshly, sinful self. When I pray against the enemies, I am praying against my sinful self. There is no good thing in my flesh (Romans 7:18).
Instead of praying, “Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness”, I may pray: “Judge me, O LORD, according to the righteousness of Christ in me”. Or I may pray: “O Lord, expose the unrighteousness of my own heart. I hate the wickedness of my own flesh, and want it put to death.”
This Psalm reveals Jesus both as man and as God. Jesus may be identified with both the one who is praying and the one being prayed to. The man Jesus was unjustly persecuted and pursued, and called out to God for help; while the Eternal Lord Jesus is the One who rose up against the rage of His enemies, and returned on high to judge the peoples (verses 6-8). So Jesus is the perfect mediator between man and God, because He plays both roles equally. He destroys the antagonism between God and man, because both sides claim Him -- so there are no longer two sides, but one.
Jesus arose from death -- the nature of Christ rises up in us, when we receive the Holy Spirit from on high. In both senses we pray, “Rise up, O Lord”: “Lord, manifest and verify your resurrection by rising up within us”. This is how we should respond when Satan torments us with accusations.
Copyright © 1999 CrossPollen
Last Revised: September 7, 1999
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