1 Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, 2 or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. 3 Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands— 4 if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe— 5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust.[c] 6 Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. 7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. 8 Let the Lord judge the peoples. Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. 9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. 10 My shield[d] is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. 12 If he does not relent, he[e] will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. 13 He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. 14 Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. 15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. 16 The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads. 17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Scripture: “…God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day…”
My initial reaction to this Psalm, and particularly the quoted verse, is that it’s very intense. God displays his wrath every day. Wow! Do I think of God in this manner? Do I know God to be like this? Do I want God to be like this?
The context of this Psalm teaches me. The Psalmist is under false accusation and attack and seems in danger for his life. I sit here, in my place of privilege and peace, and I have no apparent “need” of a wrathful God. But if God does not act with righteous judgement then what hope has the Psalmist got of justice against his falsely accusing adversary?
I “need” God to be God, because there are all sorts of seasons to life. I need a just and an actively wrathful God, not because I am vengeful or he is, but because there are so many injustices in the world, and I have neither the power nor the awareness to set them straight. But He has, and is, “everyday.”
God, let me not limit you to my needs. That is such a self-interested way to view you, and it also neglects the fact that there are so many people in this world who need your righteous judgement on their behalf, because they are suffering deep injustices. Lord, I thank you that you are passionately (I feel wrath is passionate) putting this world right through your righteous judgments!
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh