O God, break the teeth in their mouths;
tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD!
Psalm 58:6

We have been encouraging you to live in the Psalms daily, to take up these wonderful songs of God’s faithfulness and make them your own by praying them, singing them, and learning from them how to relate to God. But by now you may have noticed there are some Psalms that are difficult to understand, let alone know how to pray. That’s especially true of the “imprecatory psalms” or “psalms of cursing” where the writer asks God to act in judgement against some violent enemy. That immediately raises questions for us as New Testament believers. How are we to take such Psalms? Can we pray against our enemies as David did? And what of Christ’s command to love our enemies?
These are just some of the question we will need to deal with as we consider the imprecatory psalms. What I hope to show you is that these Psalms, like all the Psalms, have much to teach us about how we should think about the evil we see at work in our world, and what we ought to ask God to do about it. The answers we’ll find are not always easy, but I pray they will be helpful to you.

The authors of these Psalms are passionate, and at times quite graphic, as they ask God to take action against those who do evil and carry out injustice in this world. For example, notice the Psalm I quote above where he asks God to “break the teeth in their mouths!” That’s harsh! And he’s just getting started!

So as you read these Psalms, there are some things to keep in mind.

  • The Psalmist’s concern is that God would stop the evil actions of those who harm others. (Think of human trafficking! Stop them Lord!)
  • The Psalmist cares deeply about justice and righteousness. He is asking God to step in to right what is wrong and restore what is right!
  • The Psalmist is not asking God to “get” those he personally does not like, but to stop those in power whose evil actions are bringing harm.
  • The Psalmist is not taking matters into his own hand, but rather asking God to come and do what is right on behalf of those being hurt.
  • These are strong and urgent prayers where a believer, alarmed by evil, is begging God to take quick action to protect those being wronged.

May we learn the passion of these prayers.

Pastor Scott