Psalm 58 is tough to read.
I'm not going to lie, I was tempted to text Kate this morning and say, "Would you like to
deal with today's Psalm?"
Psalm 58 does not make it's way into the Revised Common Lectionary, so it's not one
we often hear read in church and I am guessing it isn't one we turn too for comfort.
Let's read the Psalm together...
Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?
Do you judge people fairly?
No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;
your hands deal out violence on earth.
The wicked go astray from the womb;
they err from their birth, speaking lies.
They have venom like the venom of a serpent,
like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
so that it does not hear the voice of charmers
or of the cunning enchanter.
O God, break the teeth in their mouths;
tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!
Let them vanish like water that runs away;
like grass let them be trodden down and wither.
Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime;
like the untimely birth that never sees the sun.
Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns,
whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!
The righteous will rejoice when they see vengeance done;
they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
People will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.’
The psalmist's language is violent, yet let us not lose sight of where this language comes
from. Who is the psalmist referring to? In the first verse it reads,
"Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?"
The "you gods" in this verse is referring to earthly leaders. The psalmist is crying out for
the earthly leaders to not "devise wrongs" or "deal out violence". The writer sees the
injustice and they turn to God, they turn to God in their honest anger and frustration.
May we bring all our emotions and experiences to God.
I know I have shared this hymn before, but I came across this version yesterday (I think the Spirit was preparing the way for today's Psalm). Friends, may we be inspired by love and anger as we journey towards liberation for all.