ers through Him. Imprecatory Psalms are those in which the psalmist calls down or prays for curses, calamity, destruction, justice, and judgment on his enemies by God. None of this counsel implies that praying imprecatory psalms is a light matter. solely from the lips of Christ, and consequently only by His follow-. One prong is judgment: the imprecations are not sinful personal retaliation but prophetic approval of God’s just retribution for sin. Psalm 118. And they attack him with lies. 1:8-9). 59:5; 40:13; 109:27). To pray for God to execute his righteous judgment upon evildoers is permissible and in certain ways even useful for believers. Verses 27–28: “May they have no acquittal from you, O God. This suffering is endured for God’s sake. So it sounds like these psalms are doing the opposite of what Jesus said and did. The apostle Paul quoted the very imprecatory words of Psalm 69:22–23 in Romans 11:9–10 as having Old Testament authority. . All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. Three answers: We should hear the divinely inspired voice of David, the Lord’s anointed, suffering for the glory of God, and expressing his desire for, and approval of, God’s judgment on the unrepentant adversaries of the Lord. Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. Secondly, we must recognize that the majority of the Psalter is non-violent. On those grounds, the imprecatory psalms may be directed at specific evildoers as an expression of our desire for God’s Kingdom on earth today (Luke 18:6-8). For that reason, I pray that Christians will exercise wisdom in their intercession for the persecuted church. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually. 3:16), we must carefully consider the ways in which that is true of these psalms. According to the Apostle John, Jesus died fulfilling Psalm 69. These psalms are usually considered problems for Christians because Jesus taught us, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27–28). The 79th is ascribed to Asaph, ), are those that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one's enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God. What I did not steal must I now restore?”. 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 how does the New Testament deal with this psalm? In other words, the way Paul interprets the words of David is not as sinful personal vengeance but as a reliable expression of what happens to the adversaries of God’s anointed. The major imprecatory psalms are Psalms 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 69, 70, 79, 83, 109, 129, 137, and 140. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened.” Verse 25: “Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” So one of the main teachings of Paul in Romans 11 is that God is judging Israel with this hardening until God’s full appointed number of the Gentiles are saved. 58; 69; 109) invoke God’s judgment upon Israel’s enemies in terrifying terms (see Ps. One more illustration of Psalm 69 as the words of Jesus: in verse 9 David says to God, “The reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.” In Romans 15 Paul is calling Christians to be patient with the weak and to deny themselves and humbly receive others. 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. This means Paul regarded the very words of imprecation as inspired and not sinful, personal words of vengeance. This is the plan of God, and as we labor for His kingdom to come, His will to be done, it includes this. FYI: “Imprecatory Psalms, contained within the Ketuvim (wisdom literature) of the Hebrew Bible (תנ”ך), are those that invoke judgment, calamity, or curses, upon one’s enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God. According to God’s definition of justice, we deserve death. - Psalm 55:15 "O God, break the teeth in their mouths." 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. He goes straight to this text to support his teaching in Romans 11. First, we must recognize God’s sovereignty in acting out his own justice on evil. And in your own real life, how should you feel about those who have wronged you — perhaps terribly wronged you? Includes bibliographical references and index. 24:12; Exod. In that sense, he may arrange for the downfall of specific evildoers according to his will even before Christ’s return. Critics of the Bible, who question its divine inspiration, insist that the “imprecatory” psalms are proof of the human origin of the Psalms. Paul read the imprecatory Psalms as the words of Christ, spoken prophetically by David, the type of Christ. The church is not undertaking the conquest of Canaan. The fact that God will do it and that it is right for him to do it is the very means by which we are able to follow Jesus in suffering for the sake of others who have wronged us: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:19-21). 6, 10, 12, 13. These are complex questions. He’s not praying for their salvation; he’s praying for their damnation. “I believe in the forgiveness of sins.” Those words may have become stale or even cliché for some, but they represent the beauty and scandal of our confession. 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. Second, we must distinguish between cursing our personal enemies ourselves (Col. 3:8) and calling upon God to curse his enemies. First, Romans 11:9–11 quotes Psalm 69:22–23. 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. Praying the imprecatory psalms, then, can be useful when it acknowledges our impotence and participation in the persecuted body of Christ. We didn’t go to movie theaters much in 2020, but good movies were still released. 5:39) as we wait for Christ’s return (2 Cor. They will experience this judgment because David is speaking on God’s behalf. A hunger for God : desiring God through fasting and prayer / John Piper. That there are very many such in the Psalms. Praying the imprecatory psalms, then, can be useful when it acknowledges our impotence and participation in the persecuted body of Christ. As others have pointed out, some consider it a spiritual “nuclear option.”. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually. And the specific thing he focuses on is that Christ endured the reproaches of men willingly. First, we should guard against overemphasizing the place of these psalms in the Christian life. The instances where a psalmist speaks positively of violence are rare indeed. 6:23) The Imprecatory Psalms are prayers. ISBN 0-89107-966-1 1. The main thing to say is that we do not take the imprecations as encouragements or incentives to curse our enemies. Copyright © 2021 The Gospel Coalition, INC. All Rights Reserved. Instead, it issues from a position of weakness and victimization (Ps. Someone Will Catechize Your Kids in 2021. So Jesus himself is aware of David’s experience and sees them as foreshadowing his own and says, When David is hated by his adversaries, this points to my experience and must be fulfilled in me. He pleads for God to rescue him from this miserable situation. 12:20; 1 Pet. We should hear David as foreshadowing of the ministry of Jesus. In Romans 11 he teaches that most of Israel has rejected Jesus as her Messiah and has come under God’s judgment. But until that day of judgment, we follow the words of the Anointed King: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. He prays that just as they gave him poison for food (verse 21), so their table would be their undoing. Second, the purposes that govern the expression of imprecations in the psalms . Fasting. For those who are hardened by it, it will condemn. Question: “I’ve been wrestling with the question since last night, I’m still wrestling with it, I hope I can ask it reasonably briefly. Nevertheless, “there is a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (Eccl. We see this most clearly in Revelation 6:9-10 where the heavenly martyrs call out for justice and vengeance. These types of … The New Testament quotes Psalm 69 in at least two important ways: it quotes the psalm as the words of David, and it quotes the psalm as the words of Jesus. 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. They don’t seem to be military enemies but personal enemies. You will be sons of the Most High” (Luke 6:27–29, 35). “The reproaches of those who reproached you, O God, have fallen on me.” When God gets reproached, the psalmist is getting reproached. The other thing we notice about the imprecatory psalms is that they are dealing with groups of people not individuals. It never treats the psalm as sinful personal vengeance. . The only one laughing at the wicked is God himself (Ps. Otherwise, I don’t know how we could explain John 19:28–30. They do not seek personal vengeance; rather they leave vengeance to God, as God has demanded. The Truth Pulpit 226 views. and the principal themes that run repeatedly through them are on the highest ethi- Let’s take Psalm 69 as one of the most extended imprecatory psalms and try to understand it and how it should shape how we think and feel with God. Insanely Normal Times: Why TGC Will Read Through the Bible Again in 2021. God … I didn’t want to imply that I am ashamed of something the Bible says. While we profess that all Scripture is profitable (2 Tim. But this instruction does not prohibit calling evil what it is, and desiring that God deal with it promptly and specifically. That is what David’s imprecations make plain. How should you feel, and how should you think? But he does just the opposite. The imprecatory Psalms (we did not know enough to classify them as such) inspired one member to write a response such as God might give. 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. His suffering will be a saving and a condemning suffering. In John 2:13–17 we read about how Jesus drove the sellers out of the temple. He wants us to hate evil (Amos 5:15). The imprecatory Psalms, he points out, are prayers, calling upon God to remedy those injustices which neither we as individuals, nor the state, are competent to remedy. Amazingly at this point, he reaches back again to Psalm 69:9 and says, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. God is a God of justice, and the imprecatory psalms may be read as pleas for justice. As a sample, Psalm 69:24 states … The Imprecatory Psalms and Christian Ethics 167 . Verse 17: “His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” In other words, they see in David’s words and actions a foreshadowing of Christ’s words and actions. It seems in fact that they found them especially useful in explaining the work of Jesus and what it means for us. 2:4; 37:13; 59:8). The following are a few examples of the imprecatory language gleaned from these psalms: “Declare them guilty, O … In the former we condemn men on our own terms and make ourselves gods; in the latter we beseech the King and recognize his holiness and our finitude. The other prong is the suffering of God’s anointed. First, we should say that the New Testament in quoting from the psalm never is embarrassed by this psalm or critical of this psalm. This distinction is evident in Romans 12:14. Interpretive Lexicon of New Testament Greek. 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