The New Testament writers did not shy away from imprecatory psalms. #6. The Biblical ground for these Imprecatory Psalms is Gen. 12:3, where God, when commanding Abram to leave Haran for the land of Canaan, promised to bless those that bless him, and curse those that curse him. Today we focus on the emotion of anger, or more specifically the desire for retaliation or vengeance — the anger we feel when something horribly wrong or unjust is done, say the sexual abuse of a child, or some blatant racial discrimination, or someone murdering your spouse, or betraying the marriage vows and going after another person. As John Piper explains in reference to the imprecatory psalms: We will grant to the psalmist (usually David), who speaks, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as the foreshadowed Messiah and Judge, the right to call down judgment on the enemies of God. In Peace or Crisis, Instruct Your Children in the Lord. He recently co-authored the Interpretive Lexicon of New Testament Greek (Zondervan, 2014), and blogs regularly at williamaross.wordpress.com. 10:34-35; Luke 12:51-53). But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. God hears and answers the prayers of his people in a variety of ways. Dr. Caldwell says, even though there is this type of category of Psalms, we should not lump them all together. May we identify an enemy for divine destruction as the imprecatory psalms do? Imprecatory Psalms: Praying Judgment On Our Enemies? The Gospel Coalition supports the church by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise, and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Far from it. Don’t Outsource It. Nevertheless, “there is a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (Eccl. So, in summary, here we have King David, not a perfect man (verse 5), but a righteous man (verse 28), a man who loves the glory of God, trusts God’s mercy for ransom and redemption (verse 18), and who stands up for the cause of the humble (verses 32–33), and who is suffering the undeserved persecution of his enemies and God’s enemies. So it seems that Psalm 69 has two prongs in the New Testament. Major Imprecatory Psalms include Psalm 69 and Psalm 109, while Psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 58, 79, 83, 137, 139, and 143 are also considered imprecatory (link to full text of Psalms). Jesus spoke more about love than bearing the sword (Matt. 23:28). Their imprecation is qualified by the sovereignty and agency of God himself to answer their prayer. Verses 22–24: Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap. Imprecatory Psalms are those in which the psalmist calls down or prays for curses, calamity, destruction, justice, and judgment on his enemies by God. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually. In fact, he admits in verse 5 that he has committed wrongs and that God knows it. “Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.’” In other words, forebear, forgive. In similar fashion, Paul instructed Christians to “bless and do not curse” our persecutors (Rom. So Jesus read this psalm and saw his own mission being lived out in advance. 6:23) The Imprecatory Psalms are prayers. The children of Israel are simply … For that reason, I pray that Christians will exercise wisdom in their intercession for the persecuted church. These types of … 2:4; 37:13; 59:8). demonstrating that the Imprecatory Psalms root their theology of cursing and crying out for God’s vengeance10 in the Torah—principally the Song of Moses (Deut 32), the lex talionis (e.g., Deut 19), and the covenant of God with his people (e.g., Gen 12)—and that this We aim to expand and feed the flock, not to eradicate anything that isn’t a sheep. Major imprecatory Psalms include Psalm 69 and Psalm 109, while Psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 79, 83, 94, 137, 139 and 143 are also considered imprecatory. Then come verses 22–28, which are entirely imprecations or curses on his enemies. And what should you do? Lord willing, his justice will be meted out, and ISIS and similar perversions of the truth will be snuffed out swiftly and completely. MOHLER: I agree with that emphatically and like the way Bob explained it. It is all of grace that we find mercy. 3:8). We have focused in the previous messages on the feelings of spiritual depression or discouragement (Psalm 42) and regret and guilt (Psalm 51) and gratitude and praise (Psalm 103). 10:42. While Paul instructs us not to curse others, he does not prohibit asking God to pour out his justice. And in the middle of this lament and cry for help, he devotes seven verses to calling on God to punish these enemies. Paul does not shy away from personal imprecation as he puts this principle to use in 1 Corinthians 16:22: “If anyone has no love for the Lord, then let him be accursed!” (cf. We should rather see them repent, or be chastised if they are sinful. The sentiment in the imprecatory Psalms is not that of an evil personal grudge, but rather of someone desiring judgment out of concern for the glory of God. Gal. The very bounty that they think they have would prove to be their judgment. 2:4; 37:13; 59:8). So it sounds like these psalms are doing the opposite of what Jesus said and did. That is why he quotes these words in Romans 11 where he is making this very point: the adversaries of Christ, the Messiah of God, are going to be darkened and hardened as part of God’s judgment. It is precisely because there is judgment. solely from the lips of Christ, and consequently only by His follow-. We see this most clearly in Revelation 6:9-10 where the heavenly martyrs call out for justice and vengeance. That’s the first way the New Testament quotes Psalm 69, namely, as the prophetic words of judgment by God’s inspired spokesman on the adversaries of God’s anointed. The judgment is that a hardening has come on the greater part of Israel so that they will not believe. And on the other hand, the Psalms are poems or songs and are meant to awaken and express and shape our feelings about God and man and the world. Evidently Jesus had lived in this psalm and absorbed this psalm and made this psalm part of his very being. My aim here is also, in part, to provide Christians with a biblical account of the impulse we may feel to wish God’s destruction upon persecutors of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I must admit, that I was tempted to just stop praying at verse 18. Romans 11:7: “What then? Psalm. 12:14). These are the 55th, 59th, 69th, 79th, 109th and 137th. Here’s what the psalm says: Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap. Verse 7: “It is for your sake [O God] that I have borne reproach, that dishonor has covered my face.” Verse 9: “Zeal for your house [O God] has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.” In other words, his suffering is not only undeserved, but it is endured precisely as a representative of God. Instead, it issues from a position of weakness and victimization (Ps. 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