Day 138.

Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime,
like the stillborn child who never sees the sun (Psalm 58:8 ESV)

This week I am preparing to talk about the curses in the Psalms. There are some pretty interesting curses! Since the Psalms are meant for public prayer we need to know how it is that we are to pray these. They seem to contradict the New Testament teaching to bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you. Is this the kind of prayer that we are to pray for those who persecute us? It is hard to imagine that we are to pray like this, at least not because of personal attack. We may feel like this but it is hard to reconcile with the compassion that we are called to have on the lost. There must something bigger going on that would justify such cursing so lets examine the rest of the psalm.

Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?
Do you judge the children of man uprightly?
No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;
your hands deal out violence on earth…
Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime,
like the stillborn child who never sees the sun…
The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.
Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
surely there is a God who judges on earth.” (Psalm 58:1, 2, 8, 10, 11 ESV)

It seems that the men who have taken power, referred to as “gods” do not judge uprightly. They “deal out violence.” This reminds me of Jesus’ statement about those who cause others to sin, “it is better that he have a millstone around his neck and be thrown into the sea than cause one of these to stumble.” I think this gets us close to understanding the concern of the Psalmist. The kingdom of Israel is at stake. Evil men have seized control and David, the anointed of God, has fled for his life from the city. This cannot be a curse coming out of personal vendetta, but a curse derived from the greater concern of the anointed and his rule over the kingdom for the sake of justice and equity.

There is more to it than that, but that is a good start I think.

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