Psalms of Vengeance

I just read Psalm 58. Psalms like these are tricky. When I see the fervor with which vengeance is desired and that the righteous “will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked,” I recoil on the one hand. On the other, in that place in my heart that I generally shove away and don’t give voice to, I think it might be nice to see the wicked get their just due. And for the righteous to have their reward.

But I can’t dwell on it. Because, in short order, I find myself in the place of judgement.

And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that’s not my place. That’s Your place.

You’re the one on the judgement seat.

So what are these Psalms about? How do I respond?

I say, have mercy on me, O God. I know I’ve done some wicked things. I’ve hurt people, I’ve harbored nasty thoughts, I’ve turned my face from You. Have mercy on me.

You are slow to anger and quick to forgive. I rest in Your mercy.I rest in Your mercy, Lord

And I look at these Psalms and confess, yes, I want to see righteous vengeance, but truly, I don’t know the hearts of men. You do. So I leave the vengeance to You.

You are all wise. You are love. You will do things right.

And I look at these Psalms and consider the war in the heavenlies. Those celestial beings who rebel against You. The father of lies who would destroy and come against Your children. And with the Psalmist, I say, absolutely. Destroy the wicked ones.

You are all powerful. Mighty to save. King of kings and Lord of lords. You have won it. Blessed be Your name forever and ever. Amen.

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