I could barely see the John Deere 9230 because it was pulling a large plow. With the drought conditions in Texas, many farmers are moving to minimal or no-till farming, but my wife was raised in Nebraska and when we moved to Midlothian it was pure country, so the scene I pictured above with tractor, disc, and dust preparing a field for planting was a common sight. When I think of those discs dicing through my back and planting my body in the soft dirt, it makes me cringe.
The psalmist in Psalm 129, the tenth of the fifteen Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120-134) didn’t know this mechanized farming, but he knew all about plows. (They were invented around 6000 B.C. close to the times when humans started using animal power.) The poet pictured the oppression Ancient Israel faced from Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, and Babylonians as if God’s people were being plowed under in a field.
“The plowers plowed over my back; they made their furrows long.” Psalm 129:3
This attack against the Jews is not locked up in ancient times, and it doesn’t pour from only the hate filled declarations of Iranian mullahs. As a kid growing up in New Jersey, I heard conspiracy theories blaming the Jews for whatever ailed our economy. One thing is clear in the Psalms. It’s not smart to turn against the people God says will ultimately rule the nations.
LORD, it’s a miracle how You re-established Israel in 1948. I know that in the present many Jews do not rely upon You and many curse Your Son, but in the conclusion of Your redemptive story, Revelation predicts that many will turn in love and mourn over the One who was pierced. I join the psalmist as he declares, ‘The LORD is righteous; he has cut through the cords of the wicked ones.’ (Psalm 129:4) Root out any anti-Semitic attitudes in my heart. Help me stand against those who curse the Jews and use me to move many to trust Your Son.
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