Punishment upon Punishment

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Reading the Word

Psalm 69:22–28 (ESV)

22 Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually. 24 Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them. 25 May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents. 26 For they persecute him whom you have struck down, and they recount the pain of those you have wounded. 27 Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Reading these verses raises questions in our minds. The verses seem so unkind and unloving. How can David say such things? Should we feel the same about our enemies? Didn’t Jesus teach that we should love our enemies? These are all good questions and we should wrestle with them.

David’s words are not contrary to the teaching of Scripture. First, he leaves vengeance in the hands of God. He dos not take it upon himself to punish his enemies, but calls out to God, the righteous and all-knowing Judge to do so. This is important because God is the one who always renders the right judgment. Secondly, Scripture tells us that sin and evil will ultimately be judged. David’s prayer is in line with this truth. He is calling out for what God has told us will take place. All believers should long for the day when injustice will cease and perfect justice will take place. That is the heart of David’s prayer.

Let us read these words and be reminded of the injustice of this world as we look forward to the end of sin and evil when God makes things right.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Let the Righteous Rejoice in the Lord

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Reading the Word

Psalm 64:7–10 (ESV)

7 But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly. 8 They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them; all who see them will wag their heads. 9 Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done. 10 Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The world can often seem unfair and even cruel. Wicked and evil people seem to get away with their actions. Swindlers sometimes seem to prosper from their lies and deceit. And the innocent and weak may seem to be taken advantage of.

But Scripture tells us a different story. God’s word tells us that evil will be judged by an all-knowing God. In the end, truth and justice will prevail as God deals with all of mankind with perfect justice. In that day, the righteous will rejoice and the wicked will be brought to ruin. So, today we live by faith in God’s promise to judge evil as we live for him in a world that is always seeking to devour the weak for profit.

As you read this, you may be wondering how anyone will escape God’s judgment. That is a good question. The Bible says we are all sinners and stand condemned by our sin. Yet God in His grace has provided His Son as payment for our sin. He went to the cross as a perfect sacrifice. And Jesus rose from the dead in victory over sin. God’s word tells us that if we repent of our sin and trust in the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, we will find forgiveness and salvation. This is the free gift of a loving and gracious God for all who will believe. Will you trust Him today?

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Corruption at the Top

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Reading the Word

Psalm 58:1–5 (ESV)

1 Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly? 2 No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth. 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. 4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear, 5 so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In every age, those in power have used their power for their own ends. The saying “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” was as true in ancient times as it is today. This psalm speaks of those in power who think of themselves as gods and act wickedly.

God’s word tells us that all will one day give an account to the final Judge and the One who is truly the absolute authority. God will act justly and show no favoritism in his judgments. May this psalm serve as a warning to all of us to seek to do what is right rather than what is popular or what may benefit us most. And may this psalm especially challenge those in positions of authority to exercise their power in accord to the will of God. We will be called to account.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Love of Evil

Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading. Please subscribe to this page and follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 52:1–4 (ESV)

1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. 2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. 3 You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.

 

The Wicked Vanish Like Smoke

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Reading the Word

Psalm 37:12–20 (ESV)

12 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; 15 their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19 they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance. 20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Try as they might, the wicked will not prosper. Their ways are futile. They may “plot” in order to get the upper hand, but their own evil will turn on them. They resist and despise the righteous and their ways. They cling to evil and hate what is good. They use every evil (sword and bow) to put down the righteous, but they will only find defeat.

The Lord upholds the righteous. They are his possession and he will sustain them. By contrast, it is the wicked who are like smoke and vanish quickly because they are the enemies of God.

The world chases after “success” at all costs and justifies whatever means is necessary to obtain it. May we be content to walk in righteousness even if we have little in this world. We know that we belong to a wonderful God who will not abandon us and who will one day gather us to himself. There is nothing to be desired more than that.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Fret Not

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Reading the Word

Psalm 37:7–11 (ESV)

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! 8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. 9 For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. 11 But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this psalm we find the phrase “fret not yourself” repeated three times. The phrase appears as the first words of Psalm 37:1 and then again in verses 7 and 8. The Hebrew word translated as fret means “to be heated or enraged”. It has the idea of getting angry over the success of the wicked (cf. verse 8). Proverbs 24:19 repeats this instruction.

Rather than allow ourselves to get angry because evildoers seem to prosper, we are told to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him”. What does this mean? We are to trust that God knows and that he will take care of these things. Evil and those who participate in it will be judged. The wicked will be no more and those who trust in and depend on the Lord will inherit the land and dwell in peace.

When we read the end of the Bible, Revelation 21 tells us what awaits those who are the people of God. There will be a new heaven and a new earth where sin and evil are no more. God will dwell with his people and there will be peace. The meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). What a day that will be!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!