Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
I just love this verse on a number of levels. First of all, it reminds me that we have a powerful God who is on our side. “If God be with us, who may be against us?”
Second, it makes me thankful that I really don’t have a lot of enemies (in the traditional sense) to be worried about. I’m not sure, but I think the Psalmist is David, who at times did have armies of enemies looking to kill him. But of course the Lord delivered him. We live pretty sheltered lives here in America but there are still threats to our safety as 9/11 taught us.
Finally, it reminds me of one of my favorite verses: Isaiah 60:1
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
The first word is a command. It is like saying “get up!” In the case of the Psalm, he’s asking the Lord to no longer hold back but to take an active role in protecting him. In the case of Isaiah, it seems like the Lord is commanding us to be filled with the Lord’s power (an amazing command).
It is amazing that we have access to the all-powerful God and can dialogue with him and make requests of him. In this case you could even say that the Psalmist is making a command to the Lord. That seems odd until you consider that he’s asking something that is within the Lord’s will (to strike at the wicked). Still, it is a bold step to issue commands to the Lord and I think I’d have to be very, very sure of myself before I felt comfortable doing that. And even then it would probably be qualified with an “if it be your will.”