1 Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
Do you judge people with equity?
2 No, in your heart you devise injustice,
and your hands mete out violence on the earth.
3 Even from birth the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake,
like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer,
however skilful the enchanter may be.
6 Break the teeth in their mouths, O God;
Lord, tear out the fangs of those lions!
7 Let them vanish like water that flows away;
when they draw the bow, let their arrows fall short.
8 May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along,
like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns –
whether they be green or dry – the wicked will be swept away.[c]
10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then people will say,
‘Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
surely there is a God who judges the earth.’
Is this one of these psalms that we wouldn’t admit to writing - or even thinking? It’s pretty full on, isn’t it? And surely nice, Christian people wouldn’t want to write stuff like this, would we? But the beginning of the psalm seems to suggest this is directed towards those in power who are promoting injustice and perhaps oppressing those in vulnerable positions. And the Bible has a whole lot to say about how much God abhors this kind of behaviour. I wonder, as I look at my own life, whether I am concerned enough about the poor, the oppressed, those who are treated unjustly. I am quite capable of an inward tirade about the guy who cut me up in the traffic queue or the person who offends me but is my heart often offended righteously? Am I really on the side of the widow and the orphan? Will I contend for them in no uncertain terms?
QUESTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION:
- What about you - where does your heart sit?
- How can we help our young people to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God?