4 June 2018

1 Corinthians 2
Psalm 58

11 Then people will say,
    “Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
    surely there is a God who judges the earth.

Psalm 58:11

The Old Testament sometimes presents us, as Christians, with a moral conflict. We listen to Jesus’ words to us about our enemies, ‘love them, bless them and do not curse’ and then we read of King David’s request to God in verse 6, ‘break the teeth in their mouths, O God’ and verse 8, ‘may they be like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.’ How do we understand these seemingly conflicting words? How can we view Psalm 58 as part of God’s songs and prayers for His people?

The key lies in who David is petitioning, and the conclusion in verse 11, that there is a God who judges on earth. David’s plea is for justice over the wicked and corrupt leaders of the day, those whose actions and attitudes are unthinkable and wicked. It’s not an ungodly plea. It’s understandable: every moral fibre in us wants justice against the oppressor and for the oppressed. We long for dictators and evil men to be brought to justice. We desire a day when all who promote and act in wickedness, who rage against God, will be judged in justice. We mourn when injustice seems to go unpunished. But there is a God of justice, who judges the earth in righteousness. When God brings judgment, in His time, He will not be accused of being unjust. So we can pray these words of Psalm 58; we can lament injustice and plead for justice to be done.

Of course, we cannot be the judge or the executor of justice, for we are unable to judge rightly and truly. It’s God’s role alone to judge. We can’t pray this in arrogance either, for the reality is that we are a part of the injustice in this world and it’s only by the grace of God, through Christ our Lord, that we are granted mercy from God’s judgment. We pray this prayer longing for justice but we pray at the same time that God’s mercy would be poured out, while there is still time.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we long for Your justice to come on earth as it is in heaven. We pray that the wicked will be stopped and righteousness upheld. Thank you Lord, for Your mercy and grace that You have given to us in Christ. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to uphold justice and hold out Your gospel of grace. Amen.