Taking Evil Seriously

‘We hope in God and find refuge there because , despite the rampant evil that characterizes our world and even gains a foothold in our own lives, God is not unconcerned with evil or injustice.  Even less is he their author.  That is why the faithful throughout the ages, when faced with the implacable evil of pain, suffering, oppression, and injustice, are able to call confidently on God for redress, as the Psalmist does here.  As Christians we may be somewhat disconcerted by the harsh imprecations heaped on the enemy by the righteous.  We feel constrained to moderate our anger and sense of injustice after the words of Jesus, “Bless those who curse you” (luke 6:28; cf Rom. 12:14).  But the psalmist’s words call us to remember that Jesus was never afraid to call evil what it was or to take a firm stance of condemnation against all its forms.  We too must take evil seriously, aligning ourselves with God’s essential character of holiness.’  (Gerald H. Wilson)

Psalm 5

For the director of music. For pipes. A psalm of David.

 1 Listen to my words, LORD,
   consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
   my King and my God,
   for to you I pray.

 3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
   in the morning I lay my requests before you
   and wait expectantly.
4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
   with you, evil people are not welcome.
5 The arrogant cannot stand
   in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
 6 you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
   you, LORD, detest.
7 But I, by your great love,
   can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
   toward your holy temple.

 8 Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness
   because of my enemies—
   make your way straight before me.
9 Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
   their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
   with their tongues they tell lies.
10 Declare them guilty, O God!
   Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
   for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
   let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
   that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

 12 Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous;
   you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Questions

  1. What title does the psalmist use for God’s position?
  2. Who can not stand in God’s presence?
  3. How are goodness and evil contrasted in this psalm?
  4. How is God’s goodness a refuge for the righteous?
  5. How do we become righteous without being self-righteous?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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