Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3576

Jump Start # 3576

Psalm 109:10-13 “Let his children wander about and beg. And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes. Let the creditor seize all that he has, and let strangers plunder the product of his labor. Let there be none to extend loving kindness to him, Nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; in a following generation let their name be blotted out.”

  They are referred to as the Imprecatory Psalms. They are bold, bluntly harsh and troublesome to us as to what to make of them. They are seeking the doom of the enemy. In the third Psalm, there is praise to God for breaking the teeth of the enemy. In Psalms 137:9, as the Psalmist thinks about his oppressor, Babylon, he pleads, “How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock.”

  Wow. We’d be very uncomfortable with anyone praying like this in our worship. We’d wonder what was wrong with that guy. We’d think about loving your enemy, extending grace and offering forgiveness. But, there they are in our Bibles, those imprecatory Psalms, and there are many of them. What are we to do with those raw and violent statements?

  First, we need to understand that the Psalmist was praying these things to God. He himself was not on a mission to bash the teeth of his enemy or break any bones. He was leaving this to God. Now, if God would do those things, he’d be just fine with that.

 Second, we see the clearness of emotions in these words. The Psalmist hurt. He had been hurt. Not everyone was getting along in the neighborhood, as Mr. Rogers would like us to. Oppression, violence, abuse and persecution litter the pages of the Bible. God’s innocent were hurt. God’s people were taken advantage of. And, in the depth of anger and pain, the soul cries out, “Do something God.”

  The prophet Habakkuk asked, “How long will I cry for help and You not hear me?” In Revelation six, the martyred saints ask, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

  Peter tells us that Lot’s righteous soul was vexed or tormented day after day by what he saw and heard in Sodom. A tormented soul cries for relief. It begs the God who can do something to change things. I wonder if we have just looked the other way so often, that wrong doesn’t bother us. We’ve learned to tolerate rather than be tormented by our culture today.

  Third, the Psalmist understood that God is not neutral in this world. He is not passively sitting on the sidelines of life, cheering us on, like at a high school football game. We see in Scriptures that the king’s heart is like water in the hands of God. He can turn it whichever way He wants. In Daniel, we learn that God removes kings and established kings. While the nightly news may tell of wars and troubles in far away lands, what we do not see is God moving things, much like chess pieces, to fulfill His divine will.

  Why plead with God to crush the enemy? Because God can. Because God has. The Egyptian army drowned in the sea. Assyria. Babylon. Persia. They all had a moment on the stage of life and each played a role in God’s plans, but each was put back in the chess box, no longer needed by God.

  Fourth, the Psalmist did not have the powerful example of Christ before him to know how to conduct himself with his enemies. Peter said that Jesus left us an example to follow. Threatened, He did not return threats. Reviled, He did not utter anything back. Silent before those who held the power of life and death, Jesus understood, that nothing could happen that was not part of God’s divine plan. No one killed Jesus. He gave His life up.

  So, as we read in the N.T. of the execution of the prophet John, the preacher Stephen, the apostle James, the disciple Antipas, and even Paul’s certain coming death, we do not find imprecatory words and prayer. This side of the cross changes things. This side of the cross helps us.

  As the world tries to crush Christians, let us remember which side of the cross that we are on. Let us stand in the shadow of the cross and let us conduct ourselves in a noble way, as our dear Lord did.

  There is no need to be calling for God to ring someone’s bell. He’ll handle such things in His way and in His time.