Read Psalm 58
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam.
1 Do you rulers indeed speak justly?
Do you judge people with equity?
2 No, in your heart you devise injustice,
and your hands mete out violence on the earth.
3 Even from birth the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.
4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake,
like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer,
however skillful the enchanter may be.
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.”
In today’s psalm, David is frustrated and upset at the judges and rulers in his day who were acting unjustly on God’s behalf. He’s experiencing a righteous anger that we’ve read about numerous times throughout the book of Psalms and perhaps one we’ve experienced in our own lives. Just like he does in Psalm 10, David takes this righteous anger to God and does not lean on his own power to judge. We can learn from this when we are faced with similar circumstances.
In the latter half of this Psalm, we read that God’s judgement rightly falls on these religious pretenders. David finds comfort in the truth that God would ultimately judge the wicked and make things right. As extreme and graphic as this psalm is, it is not a psalm of vengeance or vindictiveness but of justice and the fulfillment of God’s words, so that all will see there is a righteous God. When undeserved judgement falls on us, may we cling to the fact that God has the final word. He is the ultimate judge and we can trust Him.
However, we should not forget that everyone is subject to God’s righteous judgment. David says that “even from birth the wicked go astray.” Because of Romans 3:23, we know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It’s not just the wicked that David was writing about in this psalm that deserve judgment, but all of us. We all have gone astray from birth. But, thank God for Jesus’ death and resurrection which gives us all the chance to be forgiven, redeemed, and born again.
- Have you experienced righteous anger before? What did you do with that anger?
- Why should we turn to God for justice?
- What did this psalm teach you about God?
God, We thank you for revealing yourself to us through Scripture. May we live our lives with purpose and may we be a shining light to those around us. When we fall short, we ask for grace. When we feel righteous anger welling up inside of us, we ask you to draw near to us and align our heart with yours.