Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last night I preached Psalm 59 which records David's prayer to God when Saul sent men to surround David's house to kill him. That historical situation is recounted in 1 Samuel 19:11ff. Amazingly, David's prayer reflects a man who begs God for refuge, asks God to destroy the wicked, and resolves in his own heart to praise God in song.

Psalm 59 is quite amazing in the structure (which baffles commentators across the board) and in its dealings with the problem of evil (=theodicy).

In this prayer, David transitions from:
1. Deliver me, O God!
2. Destroy them, O God!
3. Delight in my praises, O God!

Feel free to listen here.


Jason Alligood said...

What is your stance on imprecatory Psalms?

Geoffrey Kirkland said...

That's a great question. I believe that they are part of God's Word and that they have a legitimate role in God's Word (believe it or not, there are many commentators and pastors who merely skip over these psalms [e.g., the Anglicans took out Ps 58 because of its imprecatory and harsh nature]). With that said, I believe that when NT believers pray today for the Lord to "return" and pray "thy kingdom come" they are, in essence, praying imprecatory psalms. When Christ comes back, according to Rev 19, it's an absolute judgment where He absolutely destroys His enemies. When we pray for Christ to come back and long for his return, we are really praying an imprecatory prayer.

It must, however, never be out of a vindictive spirit or a revengeful spirit. It must always be with the glory of God and the character of God foremost in our minds. If we hate evil and long for God to be vindicated, it is absolutely right for us as NT believers to pray, God justify yourself, put your character on display and destroy the wicked. I think this is totally legit. Again, it all goes back to perspective and motivation. With a God-centered approach and with God's glory at the absolute forefront of our minds, I believe it is appropriate to pray these prayers today.

Hope that helps.

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