Psalm 58


It’s a series of several Psalms to the tune ‘do not destroy’. Must have been super catchy. Maybe it’s the tune David thought of yesterday in 57 at dawn, hiding in a cave, when music came into his head.

The musician instructions call these psalms ‘miktam’s. Which one interpretation had as being scratched on the wall of a cave.

His theme is justice, and maybe this is the first time in life he really experienced the lack of it. He went from being a shepherd boy to living in the palace after he killed Goliath. Then king Saul went mad with jealousy, so he’s in a cave.

If firsthand up close injustice prompted the song, it’s only natural. You worry as you read it he is being vindictive and malicious, looking to rejoice in the downfall of his enemies.

He goes over the top revelling in vivid images of their declining effect on the world – like slugs that melt away, or like like stillborn babies.

But it is right to long for justice, it is the right channel for the passionate sense of unfairness the world around us inspires.

It is a prayer. Handing it over to God is the place for it.

It’s the right reason to hate someone, not because they are winning when you are losing, but because they are winning unfairly, by cheating, at the expense of others. It’s right to hate that.

It’s the right frame for action, to decide how to live your life. Compared to vindictiveness, fighting for justice leads away from your initial hurt, teaching you to think about the hurt of others. More likely to lead to a generous life in service of others.

It’s a convenient test for your means as well as your ends.

For instance, contemplating a watershed by-election yesterday, Kelly and i discussed the amazing self belief of politicians, who start to seriously believe they are the ones who deserve to have power, so much so that a little injustice in the compromises required to get it will be worth it in the long run – still better in their hands than the other bloke’s.

No! A journey along unfair paths to an imagined ‘fair’ destination is not a life lived fighting for justice, it becomes a life ever more devoted to power for its own sake. Malcom!

There is a super grisly moment of believers dipping their feet in the blood of evil doers, but we are to take it as an image of God’s victory, one they share in.. it comes back in Revelation, a robe dipped in blood, a winepress dripping blood. Doesn’t work for me at all, can’t get past bad horror movie images.

But when you experience the victory of Gods justice, you are allowed to enjoy it. Recognise where it came from, and that it moves outward, to others.

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