The miracle of asking God to set your mind right.
This psalm reminds me of what an earthly view of God’s punishment and blessing people in the old testament had.
David seemed to have a healthy view of the afterlife, psalm 23 after all “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.. I will dwell in God’s house forever”.
But here he seems rather uncomfortably to be saying that if God does not bring down, and stop building up, the wicked he will be treating David as if he was dead.
The Jews didn’t have just our concept of hell, they had the pit, the grave, which David refers to as a place where God is silent. It’s not eternal punishment as such, it’s nowhere land.
In the second half of the psalm, he strikes a more positive note, praising god for delivering on his request to bring down the successful wicked people.
Did he break between writing the first and second halves of the psalm? During which time god smote the wicked? I’d like to think God’s answer came to David as he wrote, and is intended to come as we sing.
The punishment of the wicked is a life spent without regard for the world of the lord, trusting only in themselves: they’ll never have the richness of knowing where the good stuff comes from, or knowing the protecting love of God.
David exalts in god, the rock, his strength, his shield, and that is the help God sends. Verse 7 is the key.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts;
so I am helped, and my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
Psalms show how Christian songs, time spent meditating on or talking about God, is a reset, a prioritising, a way on earth of experiencing strength in god and victory.
Assuming David did have a healthy understanding of the afterlife, his songs are deliberately not like the classic slave songs, always longing for it. They are songs of victory right here, right now. By humbly waiting for and listening to and remembering God’s goodness.