The Awkward Bits— A LifeWords Devotion – Hope 103.2

The Awkward Bits— A LifeWords Devotion

Most of this Psalm is a wonderful piece of praise for the dignity and value of human beings. Then towards the end comes the awkward bit. After passionate praise, the Psalmist gets passionately angry. What can we say to this?

By David ReayWednesday 2 Jun 2021LifeWords DevotionalsDevotionsReading Time: 2 minutes

Psalm 139:19-22

If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. (NIV)

Most of this Psalm is a wonderful piece of praise for the dignity and value of human beings. Then towards the end comes the awkward bit. After passionate praise, the Psalmist gets passionately angry. What can we say to this?

First, the Psalms are wonderful because of their authenticity. Right and wrong feelings are expressed. No painting on big happy smiles when all seems bleak. No sugar coating disaster or setback. The Psalms resonate with us because they express what we so often feel rather than resorting to pious sentimentality.

Second, the Bible was written by imperfect people whose imperfections sometimes become obvious. God uses such people for his good purposes. The Scriptures will not lead us astray on matters of salvation and godly living, but it doesn’t mean each and every sentiment expressed in Scripture is a reflection of God’s character. Real people wrote Scripture, not robots. Raw emotion is expressed without divine censorship.

Third, while the Psalmist’s hatred is “over the top”, it is right for any of us to feel godly anger towards those who demean others and wickedly defy God. Love of others does not exclude such anger. But any such anger is not merely personal petulance. It is to do with our desire to see God honoured. Passion has its place.

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Blessings

David