Several psalms, here, are described as “imprecatory psalms,” that is, psalms in which the writer asks God to judge the enemies of God and of Israel. In the modern mind, these psalms are particularly problematic because, supposedly, they present a God who only is out for revenge and killing. Consider: “You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel. Rouse yourself to punish all the nations; spare none of those who treacherously plot evil” (59:5,6) & “For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter, consume them in wrath; consume them till they are no more, that they may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth” (59:12,13).
Do you notice that the judgment is meted out, not haphazardly or simply with evil intent? Rather, God is called upon to deal with evil and cursing and lying. Such a response on the part of a holy God is a problem only for those who would believe that there should be no condemnation of wrongdoing. We know, however, that God does indeed judge wrongdoing. And we know that we ourselves are wrongdoers. But we also know that we, who do wrong but who confess our wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness, are forgiven. Another has taken our sin debt upon himself and has paid the penalty so that we might go free. That’s why, this past Sunday, in the cemetery, we sang
In that old rugged cross,
stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me. –George Bennard