In Psalm 58, David described the unjust rulers of his time as unfair, violent, wicked, wayward liars who were deliberately destructive, and then he prayed for God to judge them. Psalm 58 is known as one of the imprecatory psalms, because it calls down curses on the wicked. David's words may seem vengeful to us when he prays for curses upon the wicked. But his purpose was not hatred or revenge. David knew that only God could judge the sins he had witnessed in his society, so he called out to God to intervene, punish the wicked, and interpose for the righteous. James Montgomery Boice, former pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, wrote, “It is a matter of David siding with God and His righteousness and not with evil” (Psalms Volume 2).
Boice called Psalm 58 “an apt prophetic description of our times” which is interesting because he wrote his commentary in 1996, twenty years ago! Boice quoted from a “Washington Post” article on national political life, “common decency can no longer be described as common” and a “New Republic” magazine article, “There is a destructive sense that nothing is true and everything is permitted.” Don't these things sound sadly descriptive of political life in 2016?
So please read what David wrote about the leaders of his time and notice how he prayed, because, after all, there is a God who judges on earth (Psalm 58:14).
1 Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
Do you judge people with equity?
2 No, in your heart you devise injustice,
and your hands mete out violence on the earth.
3 Even from birth the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake,
like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer,
however skillful the enchanter may be.
6 Break the teeth in their mouths, O God;
Lord, tear out the fangs of those lions!
7 Let them vanish like water that flows away;
when they draw the bow, let their arrows fall short.
8 May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along,
like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns--
whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away.
10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then people will say,
“Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
after all, there is a God who judges the earth.”
God is the Judge of the earth! He will reward the righteous and punish wickedness. God is the one and only judge who can sweep away all injustice (58:9) and cause the righteous to rejoice (58:10,11).
What wrongs do you see today in the world, in your country, and in your community that need to be changed? Do you feel powerless to make changes and set things right? Do you feel it is hopeless? Why not write a brief prayer asking God, the Righteous Judge, to bring about justice in those situations. And share that prayer in the comments section if you would like. Then ask God what He would be pleased to do through you to help make things better. The prophet Micah proclaimed:
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
When we feel we have no control, the best thing we can do is go to the One who is in control, present our case to Him, and then live as though we mean what we say.
May the Lord bless you and keep you,