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The Songs of Jesus: A year of daily devotions in the Psalms

The Songs of Jesus (a year of daily devotions in the Psalms) by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller

Excerpt: Read Psalm 58:6-11.

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. 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.’

The cry for justice:  Those leading comfortable lives may be troubled by verses 6-10, but the Psalms refuse to ‘allow us to get used to the scandal of evil in high places.’ They give voice to the anger of the oppressed. Notice, however, the request is not ‘Help me break the teeth of the wicked’ — that is left to God (verse 6). The New Testament uses similarly intense language for what will happen on Judgment Day (Revelation 19:11-13), but in the meantime we do not war against evil with literal swords but with the Gospel (Revelation 12:11). If we have known real evil, we will want a divine judge who will take up the sword, so that we can refrain from doing so.

Prayer:  Lord, make me an agent of reconciliation, forgiving from the heart those who do wrong yet at the same insisting on truth and responsibility. That is a life shaped by the cross, honoring both mercy and justice at the same time. Amen.