Psalm 135: The Prayer of the Common Man, The Prayer of the Oppressed
“The [Temple] Courts” (vs. 2) were a place for the common Israelite to be close to God and worship Him. So, Psalm 135 is the “Common Man’s” Call to Worship and expression of Worship!
The “Common Man” faces many challenges. Both male and female of every ethnicity, we find ourselves not among the elite, the privileged, or the “Mover and Shaker”. Yet God calls us, “Everyday Folk”, to the most important and joyful work on the planet: Living in loving and worshipful relationship with Him. How does the Common Man worship? “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.” (Former Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple, cited in Boice).
What are the common problems of the common man? Lack of power, control, and/ or influence. Our lives are lived largely impacted by the decisions of others with little recourse at our disposal. The Common Man is often ignored, at best, and exploited, at worse. So, notice how this Song worships God as Good (vs. 3), All powerful (vs. 5-7), Overcomer of All Our Earthly Enemies (King of Kings, vss. 8-12), Lover & Vindicator of His People (vss. 13-14), & Overcomer of All Unseen, Demonic Enemies (vss. 15-18). These are attributes of God that speak loud and clear to the Common Person of every generation. Let’s use these descriptions of God as a platform for this week’s prayer focus.
“God is good” means that He has no evil in Him, His intentions and motivations are always good, He always does what is right, and the outcome of His plan is always good. There is nothing unpleasant, evil, or dark in Him (https://www.gotquestions.org/God-is-good.html).” What difficulty or evil are you experiencing in your Common-Man Life today? Even if it is based solely on faith with very little feeling, can we offer up a prayer of faith confessing that God is Good in this circumstance and in this season?
God is All Powerful: Nothing we are facing -- Covid, Racism, Tyranny, Exploitation -- is outside of God’s power to stop, redeem, and transform. We are powerless but He is all powerful. Read Psalm 135:5-7 and give glory to our All-Powerfully Good Father.
God is the Overcomer of All Earthly Enemies: Israel’s enemies were seemingly always present and all powerful. Former slaves, wilderness wanderers, farmers -- all of which describe national Israel -- are Common Folk for sure. Yet, Israel was not without a Defender against earthly foes. Notice vs. 12, “and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.” Who did this? Vs. 8, “HE!” That is, “God”! God took away the power and possessions of the Canaanites and just gave it to Israel. God will overcome our enemies! Praise the Overcomer of Corrupt, Godless, Earthly Powers.
God is the Vindicator of His People: The Lord’s love for His people (vs. 14) moves Him to be our Vindicator (vs. 14). Vindication is the act that declares a person right, reasonable, or justified. Are you being oppressed, singled-out, ridiculed, laughed at, mocked, marginalized??? These are common experiences of God’s people for centuries. And, for centuries, God’s people have lifted their pain and voices to Heaven and cried out for justice...for vindication! Cry out to Him now!!
God is the Overcomer of All Spiritual Enemies: “Water Baptism is an act of war against the unseen, demonic world!” This quote showed up in a book I am reading, “The Unseen World”. When we are baptized, the enemy puts out a bounty on our testimony, a price on our head. As such, we must remember that, as the Church, our enemies are not “flesh and blood” but of an unseen, spiritual nature. Yet, our Unseen Father possesses more power than all the unseen world added up and multiplied by one billion. In Jesus, The Father overcame the Unseen Powers...and will ultimately overcome them once and for all at the End of Days, which really is the “Beginning of Days” for us. Confess His power over all spiritual forces. Call upon Him to deliver us from the “Evil One”.