Thursday, August 21, 2008

Psalm 58

David is harsh on the wicked, seeking vengeance on them. He pleads with Go to destroy them, and pleads destruction with poetry.

What I find interesting is that never once did David plead for God to change their hearts, for Him to call them to Himself and change their ways. Perhaps it is the "tolerant" society of our day, but I sort of grew up thinking that "pray for your enemies" meant to pray with compassion, that God would change them, bring them to Himself, and use them for His glory. I thought that we were supposed to love those we hate, and pray for their salvation, that the mercy of God could extend to them, too.

But David doesn't. He says that these men have been wicked from birth, as though there is no chance for their reformation, that they are wicked through and through with no hope for good. And so I wonder... is this a character flaw in David, that he is so caught up in the wicked these men are doing (ruling and judging unfairly) that he simply has no mercy for them, or is it a flaw in me, that I have fallen into a thinking shaped by society, and not by scripture, that everyone can be reformed, that everyone deserves a second chance, and that wickedness should be repaid by love, not justice. Do I need to rethink my understanding of the balance between God's justice and mercy? Do I need a new perspective?

The wicked in this passage are devising injustice and meting out violence on the earth. It doesn't sound all that different from some of the leaders in our government. I haven't been praying for God to destroy them, and I don't know that I would call them "wicked". Should I?