Cry for Justice
We easily spot injustices that hurt us, but less easily injustices that benefit us. What do we do when leaders secretly rig the system against us or our neighbor and violently enforce it? We must pray as David did.
A David psalm.
1 Do you powerbrokers really make just rulings?
Do you truly govern people fairly?
2 No, your hearts design
self-serving injustice in the earth.
Then you carefully measure out
violence in the land.
3 The wicked go wrong from the womb.
Career liars stray the minute they’re born.
4 Their venom is like a cobra’s venom
but a cobra that’s deaf—
its ears so thoroughly blocked
5 it’s immune to the snake charmer’s tunes
no matter how entrancing.
6 Defang them, God!
Shatter the jaws of these lions, YHWH!
7 Make them vanish like water into desert sand
and wither like trampled grass.
8 Make them like a slug that melts away as it moves
like a stillborn child that never sees the light of day.
9 Before what they’re cooking starts heating up
may God sweep it all away—
kindling, cauldron, brew, and all!
10 The just will be glad
when they see vengeance taken—
they’ll bathe their feet
in the blood of the wicked.
11 Then everyone will say
“It really does pay to do the right thing.
There truly is a God dispensing justice on earth.”
Echoing themes we saw in Psalm 57, this psalm is concerned with how God can reign over a world filled with gross injustice. From David’s sarcastic opening lines to his final confession, he’s disturbed by injustice operating in government’s highest levels. Arrogantly self-serving, its perpetrators do whatever they must to get whatever they want. Born liars, they’ve done wrong for so long that they’ve squandered all possibility of doing right. They’re venomous snakes utterly immune to control, vicious lions that must be defanged.
Verses 6-9 ask God to either render the wicked harmless or make a clean sweep of them, and to do so without delay. David is leaving vengeance to God—but not passively, indifferently. No, he’s desperate for God to act, to reestablish his rule in the world. For God’s kingdom to come.
Seeing David’s terrible picture of a celebratory bloodbath, we can judge him for his brutal honesty. Or we can ask God to shake us out of our complacency over systemic evil and make us long for justice for the oppressed. We can ask him to help us believe that doing good, walking in God’s path, will pay off in the end when his justice prevails over our messed up world.
Seeing the injustice of our powerbrokers, let alone that of evil dictators elsewhere, I often struggle to believe your moral order holds firm in the universe, God. Help me see both oppressed and oppressor as you do, Lord. Deliver me from evil and may your kingdom come, I pray. Amen.
Meditate on this during your free moments today:
It really does pay to do the right thing.
There truly is a God dispensing justice on earth.