A Contrast Drawn

You have seen, O Lord; do not be silent! O Lord, do not be far from me!
Wake up! Bestir yourself for my defense, for my cause, my God and my Lord!
Vindicate me, O Lord, my God, according to your righteousness, and do not let them rejoice over me.
Do not let them say to themselves, “Aha, we have our heart’s desire.” Do not let them say, “We have swallowed you up.”
Let all those who rejoice at my calamity be put to shame and confusion; let those who exalt themselves against me be clothed with shame and dishonor.
Let those who desire my vindication shout for joy and be glad, and say evermore, “Great is the Lord, who delights in the welfare of his servant.”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all day long.
—Psalm 35:22-28

When the proud look at the meek, what they see is opportunism. How can I take advantage? How can I take revenge? How can I make myself look good? How can I humiliate? How can I profit? But "God also sees and takes notice of the cruelty and malice of those who feel a pleasure and gratification in seeing others afflicted and in trouble" [Calvin].

Throughout the psalms, there's a contrast drawn between the viewpoint of those who oppress or take advantage, and God—whose "seeing" brings wholeness to the downtrodden. Nothing better demonstrates the fall of Adam than this example of how the image of God has been marred in humanity: When God sees, the oppressed are lifted up; when the wicked see, it is with a view to vaunting themselves or their own interests.

I notice in this section of the 35th Psalm that there's an antidote to wickedness: Those who worship—truly worship—God as one are those who want the best for the downtrodden, and who seek the welfare of the less fortunate. May my community of faith also seek justice and equality, and praise the God who sees those whom others swallow up in their greed.

Give me eyes more like yours, Lord—eyes to see those whom others overlook. And make me part of a community which seeks justice for the oppressed and the welfare of the ignored. I pray in the Name of him who taught me: Our Father...