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The Purpose of Imprecatory Psalms #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
December 3, 2021 7:00 am

The Purpose of Imprecatory Psalms #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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December 3, 2021 7:00 am

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Defined in these songs. The psalmist having a deep reaction against sin when it is paraded to his face and he prays in response to it. You've probably come across a passage in Scripture where one of God's people was praying for the downfall, destruction or correction of his enemies, but is that something that a loving heavenly father would approve of hello and welcome back to the truth pulpit with Don greed founding pastor of truth Community Church in Cincinnati Ohio I bill right today is Don continues in his series called a cry for justice will see that because the motives for this kind of prayer are rooted in a desire to see God glorified the Lord stamp of approval is over them will done this kind of song in particular can be kind of offputting to those who don't know God and even some believers is not right.

Well I think that's true Bill and you know my friend is you joined us for today's broadcast. That's why we wanted to air this series titled a cry for justice because I'm concerned for you as you listen in as you grow in Christ. I'm concerned for you as a true Christian that you would grow in your zeal for the glory of God and the imprecatory Psalms as they're known have that same focus is zeal for the glory of God and the vindication of his holiness against injustice on the earth. We need to come to better grips with these things. I think that's why were airing this so God's word will bring you to a more mature view of his holiness and justice as we study it today right here on the truth pulpit. Thanks, Don friend, let's join our teacher right now for part two of the message called the purpose of imprecatory so you're on the truthful turnover to John chapter 10.

This is not specifically imprecatory, but I want you to see this in this context, John chapter 10 to remember this about our Lord Jesus to remember this about the Savior of our souls to remember this about the one who is lord over our lives. John chapter 10 Jesus speaking about the wolves that will sometimes harass the sheep and he says in John chapter 10 verse one truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way. He is a thief and a robber, but he who enters by the door as a shepherd of the sheep to him. The doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out when he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them.

The sheep follow him because they know his voice drop down to verse seven Jesus said to them again, truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters through me. He will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd.

The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. This concern that we see in David in the Psalms as he prays for for God to deal with his enemies so that it would benefit the people of God comes to its full climax comes to its full fruition. As Christ comes and declares himself as the one who is preeminently concern for the well-being of the people of God preeminently concern for the sheep of God preeminently concerned to see them protected and provided for to the extent that he would even lay down his own life for that and how precious are the people of God to God himself.

Well you see it when the eternal son of God lays down his life for them and says in that context, I am a good shepherd will David was an early prefiguring of that coming of Messiah concern for the people of God and praying for their well-being. Is that something that we would criticize the spirit inspired writer for having on his heart.

The protection of the people of God. I don't think so and I don't think you do either go back and see another example of this in Psalm 37 we see the glory of God. The people of God animating these prayers.

Psalm 37 in verse 35 Psalm 37 verse 35. David says I have seen a wicked violent man spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil, then it he passed away and low he was no more. I sought for him, but he could not be found marked the blameless man, and behold the upright for the man of peace will have a posterity but transgressors will be altogether destroyed the posterity of the wicked will be cut off, but the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord. He is their strength in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them he delivers them from the wicked and saves them because they take refuge in him. The people of God, their safety, their well-being, their deliverance being that which is animating his prayer. So we see the glory of God.

The people of God being the the object.

The purpose the motivating factor behind these imprecatory Psalms. Let's look thirdly at another theme. As the psalmist is often rebuking sin, you could say the rebuke of sin is our third point Aziz addressing these matters.

Look at look at Psalm 10 verses 12 through 15 Psalm 10 verses 12 to 15 David speaks of the wicked and leading up to that passage, he says in verse seven. His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression under his tongue's mischief and wickedness. He sits in the lurking places of the villages in the hiding places.

He kills the innocent.

His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate. He lurks in the hiding places a lien in his lair. He lurks to catch the afflicted. He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net.

He crouches, he bows down in the unfortunate fall by his mighty once he says to himself, God is forgotten. He has hidden his face. He will never see it in response to that David prays in verse 12.

Arise, O Lord, O God, lift up your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. He sees the people of God here.

But he goes on and says in verse 13. Why has the wicked spurned God. He is said to himself. You will not require it. You have seen it for you have beheld mischief and vexation to take it in your hands the unfortunate commits himself to you.

You have been the helper of the orphan break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer seek out his wickedness until you find what's he saying he saying God deal with them and put their sin to an end.

Make an end of their wickedness stop them from this. He's opposing sin itself opposing it as an offense to God as being an offense to his holy name. His holy character are we to look at that and say that's not worthy.

This is this is some kind of lower Old Testament spirituality that is not fit for the for the modern lips of a man of God would think that way. Well, I think not.

Proverbs chapter 8 verse 13 defines the fear of the Lord this way. Proverbs 8 verse 13 the fear of the Lord is to hate evil pride and arrogance in the evil way and the perverted mouth I hate now beloved look, these are not abstractions to the godly heart. This is not simply some kind of theoretical philosophical discussion from which a godly man a godly woman can just stand removed from an look on sin and evil and wickedness and not have some kind of reaction in her heart. Some reaction in his heart against what he sees when he sees false teachers promulgating gospel so-called that is false and leads people away from Christ. The promises heaven to those who follow rules and regulations when he sees men in white pointy hats parading as though they were the Vicar of Christ on earth. There's a reaction against that since God stopped that this is a violation of your glory. It's a violation of the gospel. You can't simply look at that and and have a casual indifference to it. The man of God, the woman of God reacts against such things reacts against the sin and to become something which motivates them in prayer you find in these songs. The psalmist having a deep reaction against sin when it is paraded to his face and he prays in response to it again.

We can think to our Lord Jesus looked at the passage in Matthew 23. How we pronounce multiple woes upon the Pharisees because they were blind guides, leading the blind into the they were like whitewashed tombs men walk over them, not realizing they're stepping on dead men's bones. They were men, leading others to hell and misrepresenting the true God misrepresenting his law and closing off the path of heaven through their workspace. Religion and Jesus condemns them zealously clearly at length and rebukes the sin behind it all and you see that the Lord makes distinctions as he deals with sinners to this to the prostitutes in the tax gatherers who would come to him in a repentant mournful state seeking forgiveness he receives them with grace and love, just as he does every sinner who comes humbly to him to the hardhearted to the providers of the gospel to false teachers to those who oppose everything that Christ stands for. They meet his rebuke and they are on the receiving end of his pronouncements of judgment. You can't reduce Christ to a one dimensional being is he deals with the hardened center versus the repentant sinner and so there is a rebuke of sin that's taking place in the Psalms that you see mirrored elsewhere forcefully and finally see another aspect of the Psalms, and that is we could say the conversion of sinners, the conversion of sinners. He's you find in the Psalms a purpose of advancing the glory of God the protection of the righteous.

The rebuke of sin. And finally, we come to even the conversion of sinners, sometimes in the Psalms of these striking themes. Sometimes the psalmist is seeking judgment as a means to bring about the conversion of the guilty. Isn't that a noble end. Look at Psalm to the second song song to verse nine he speaks about judgment against the nations prophesying of the coming triumph of Christ in verse nine he says you shall break them with a rod of iron, you shall shatter them like earthenware but then he goes on in verse 10, and he makes an appeal to the kings of nations to heed what he saying and to come in worship to the one true God. He says in verse 10 now therefore, O kings, show discernment, take warning, O judges of the earth worship the Lord with reverence and rejoice with trembling due homage to the son that he not become angry, and you perish in the way for his wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in him. So there is this pronouncement of judgment that is combined with a call to repent a call and an invitation to come to the true God to leave behind their sin to leave behind their false gods and come and bow in worship and adoration with the implicit promise being he will receive you when you do, he's not. He's not simply pronouncing judgment upon them, and then, and in a bloodthirsty glory waiting for it to come to pass in the spirit of Jonah.

Jonah chapter 4 when he went up on a hill and waited to what he hoped would be the destruction of Nineveh. That's not the spirit here. He calls them. He invites them to come to Yahweh to come to the Lord in worship and rejoice and be reconciled to him. Sometimes you see him wanting the wicked to learn the fear of the Lord.

Look at Psalm 64 Psalm 64 in verse seven, Psalm 64 verse seven and well in verse one always like to set the context he says hear my voice of God in my complaint preserve my life from dread of the enemy hide me from the secret council of evildoers from the tumult of those who do iniquity. In verse seven he he speaks of the judgment of God would come upon them. In verse seven he says but God will shoot at them with an arrow.

Suddenly they will be wounded so they will make him stumble their own tongue is against them all who see them will shake the head, but then look at what he says in verse nine he says, then all men will fear and they will declare the work of God and will consider what he is done he says this judgment will provoke a fear in the men who see and observe it in verse 10, the righteous man will be glad in the Lord and will take refuge in him and all the upright in heart will glory there is this there is this implicit call this implicit invitation to repent, to leave behind the wickedness against which he is praying and enter into a fear of God which would show forth the conversion of their souls and Psalm 69 after the imprecation that we read earlier Psalm 69 see a similar focus of this stunning invitation to all to come to praise to worship the one true God. In verse 34 let heaven and earth praise him this season. Everything that moves in them.

It's a call upon all creation to come and worship this God verse 35 for God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it. The descendents of his servants will inherit it and those who love his name will dwell in it so beloved. Here's what I want you to see and were still just kind of covering the Psalms in a general surveying manner. Here not dealing with them in detail just now here's what I want you to see as a whole.

When you examine the Psalms and and group them together in passages like them you find these Psalms doing things like this. Defending the glory of God protecting the people of God in prayer seeking the conversion of sinners standing opposed to wicked notice. If we were to silence these imprecatory songs if we were to do is Thomas Jefferson didn't cut out certain passages of the Bible because they were not fitting for our theological predispositions. What would you do well, the Bible would be poorer for it to silence these Psalms simply because they assault our modern sensibilities would silence noble themes of the highest grandest kind and blunt their sanctifying impact on our own hearts. When you think of the conversion of sinners to which we alluded again we just come back to Christ seeking the conversion of sinners calling them come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest that even as her feeling the weight of judgment feeling the weight of conviction. There is this call. There is this extension of a free offer of the gospel come to me and I will receive you, I will forgive you.

I will I will wash away all your sin just come and you find the themes of the Psalms, lofty and exalted, you see the theme of the Psalms echoed in the person the life the ministry, the words, the very purpose of our Savior himself thought about these things for quite a while and a question crystallized in my mind thinking about CS Lewis and others. Critics why are these imprecatory Psalms so reviled by men. Why do men hate these passages of Scripture in particular and condemn them. Why not a reference to God's word. Why not bow down before. Why not take the posture of the learner of a disciple instead of that, as a critic of say again alas question again, why are the imprecatory Psalms so reviled by men. Beloved, think about it this way with me think about the themes that we've said that they are advancing the glory of God. The people of God, a rebuke of sin, the conversion of sinners. Why are they so reviled it's because these Psalms belong to another realm. They belong to another realm that unregenerate men will never love and never approve. There is an exclusive zeal for God in these Psalms that the unregenerate heart hates because it suppresses the knowledge of truth.

They will give glory when they see the constellations moving in precise orbit. You think that they're going to give glory to God when Psalms come along. The convict and rebuke the sin of men course not.

The apostle John said don't be surprised. 11 when the world hates you. First John three when you see the opposition of the world going against the people of God, and you find Psalms the pushback against that under the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the written word. Unregenerate men are going to like that it doesn't flatter their pride convicts them of sin. It shows them.

It brings out before them that they are the enemies of God, the Psalms contradict and push back against the rebellious heart of men they pushback against the tolerance and moral ambivalence of our age.

No wonder there hated.

No wonder there reviled. No wonder men seek to put a muzzle on them and silence God as he speaks through Psalms like this because the greater themes that they are advancing our hostility to the sinful heart the unredeemed man the unregenerate woman beloved, not us, not us as Christians, we won't look at those Psalms. In this way we will understand them for what they are.

The imprecatory Psalms are not hasty emotional expressions about human frustrations with human problems. They are carefully written literature, guided by the Holy Spirit in what was expressed, expressing the prayers of righteous men to a righteous God offered in good conscience, standing as it were, between the realm of Satan and sin and the round of God in holiness and righteousness, and caught in the tension between the two worlds before the time the Christ comes to set it all straight for us rather than reacting against the form of the words that are used here what we instead should do is examine our own hearts for our own love of these great and lofty themes. How much how high of a priority. How high the motivation how captivating to us is the glory of God. How concerned are we for the people of God. How fully do we fear the Lord, that we would hate evil enough to have it be pressed out as we pray toward God in response to what we see around us.

How much do we see those walking in darkness and desire that God would do a work that would would prompt them and drive them to a converting experience in That they might come to the Lord Jesus and be saved that the disciplining stroke of God on their lives would be a means to another in that they would forsake their sin and come to Christ and be saved. What we need is not to be ashamed of God's word embarrassed by it to say all. If only my heart would grow with only the Holy Spirit would produce in me a greater zeal for his glory. A greater zeal for the people of God, a greater zeal for righteousness. A greater zeal for the conversion of the lost if the imprecatory Psalms would have that impact on us individually and that impact on us as a congregation.

I rather suspect that we would find ourselves more fully enjoying the utter blessing of God.

As a result to the weakness is in us not in God.

I could never be that's doing green with the second half of the message called the purpose of imprecatory Psalms. You're on the truth pulpit will friend if you'd like to find out more about this ministry or you'd like to share this broadcast. We invite you to go to the truth. and if you're not currently part of the local body of believers sure to check out the weekly live stream from truth community church all the instructions are also at the truth. route of time for today but will see you next time right here on the truth pulpit with Don green teaching God's people

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