Imprecatory Prayer – 4

Does praying these prayers mean we seek the death of God’s enemies? 

  • It could be misunderstood that we desire the death of all those who oppose us in this life, but we don’t. 
  • We don’t know who is elect and who isn’t.  The Lord is angry with the wicked, but He loves the righteous. 
  • How do we pray this properly?  Psalm 137:8-9.  This is one of the most often quoted verses by atheists to prove that the God of the Bible is vengeful. 
  • We know better, but as James Jordan points out, we have a bigger problem.  This passage, written during the exile in Babylon, contradicts Jeremiah’s command from God to pray for Babylon’s peace (Jer. 29:7). 
  • Is the Psalmist praying contrary to God’s command?    
  • The Babylonians asked for the Israelites to sing a song of Israel. 
  • Instead of being taught Babylonian songs, they asked to hear the songs of God’s people. 
  • The Israelites told of the importance of Jerusalem (137:5-6), and how God is a God of judgment (137:7). 
  • I’ll let James Jordan explain it, “God’s judgment comes in two forms. One form is judgment unto utter destruction, but the other form is judgment unto resurrection. In the case of Edom, the prophecy is always of judgment unto utter destruction. In the case of the Gentiles, the prophecy of usually of judgment unto repentance and resurrection. That is the case here as well.” These are from his comments on Psalm 137.
  • Israel tells of Babylon being destroyed, with God dashing their little ones against a stone (In the Hebrew the word translated “stones” is actually singular; a better translation is “rock”.). 
  • But what this is no ordinary stone.  Throughout the Psalms the “rock” is God, the Holy One. 
  • The rock is mentioned is in Exodus 17, where Moses strikes it.  Paul tells us that the rock represents Christ (I Cor. 10). 
  • Isaiah 8:14 speaks of this stone of stumbling.  When one is dashed upon the stone, there are two possibilities: either he is brought into Christ, or he is destroyed by Christ. 
  • No one comes into contact with that stone and remains as he is. 
  • This Psalm isn’t about enjoying little babies being murdered.  It’s violent language expressing what has happened to us and what will come upon all the Gentiles: they will either be dashed and joined to Christ or they will be crushed by Christ.  
  • We too should desire this, that all the world be dashed upon the true corner stone, Jesus Christ.  You may say, “That’s too violent for me.” 
  • Maybe so, but it’s also an inspired Scripture ordained to be prayed and sung by God’s people. 
  • We don’t have the option of accepting God as loving and leaving out His judgment.  We submit and love all of Him or none of Him.

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