Monday, September 6, 2010

David Says, "Smite the Wicked... Please?"

This month, I'm on my second round of a year-long commitment to reading the Psalms and Proverbs completely through every single month: I'm starting to notice some patterns. Like, for example, I notice that King David prays for the slaughter of the wicked almost as regularly as I order a bacon cheeseburger with fries. And it comes out of nowhere. Which is unnerving for some people. It is for my girlfriend; she spent a good 15 minutes last week trying to explain it away as if she'd never read anything else in the book of Psalms before. And she isn't alone. Matthew Henry, my great dead mentor, came up with some creative ways of trying to get around these passages too. But I think that the judgment prayers (in Psalms 21, for example) are good things, for a few reasons: (1) God inspired these Scriptures, and did so through the pen and personality of one of his servants--which means that everything in here lines up with His good, pleasing, and perfect will; (2) If God did not eventually answer these prayers, we would be without assurance that God cares about the state of the world enough to judge it; (3) Any God who does not do these things is not worth my respect, awe, or fear, because He would be a pushover who has no power to punish sin; (4) If these are not true prayers, then we have no way to ask God to stop the wicked from oppressing others and leading God's people astray. God loves so much that He will viciously oppose the wicked to defend what He loves. When we reject that truth, I think we do it because we know that we're wicked too. But let God be God. He is altogether glorious and awesome and fearsome on His own. Celebrate that.

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