Psalm 58 ain’t easy reading. It’s gritty reading.
It’s not one of those we see rushed off to become a Hillsong classic. I can’t imagine Darlene Zschech rushing to sing …
Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime, like the stillborn child who never sees the sun. (Psalms 58:8 ESV)
I don’t think we can expect Israel Houghton to pop up with a song with the lyric …
O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord ! (Psalms 58:6 ESV)
But there it is in the Holy Word. What do we do with it? Other than ignore it as apparently appears to be the thing?
Well, for me, the first thing to do is accept it. The Psalmist was inspired to put it together, there was agreement it should be in this collection of Psalms, so it’s not clever or fair to overlook it. It’s also worth noting, these are lyrics to song, creatively conveying truth. It’s there where the journey can begin.
Reading the Psalm is a guttural outcry for justice against the wicked. Graphic and brutal though that desire is, it none the less comes from a place of desperately desiring righteous rule to win out against the examples of monstrosities committed in the world. The Psalmist seeks justice and knows where to go for it.
The quest for justice and the resolution of evil isn’t something expressed just in the Psalms. The entire Bible plays out the understanding of the good and right deriving from God and His rule in ultimately seeing off the wicked and evil in the world. In the meantime it’s for us to have the honesty and bravery to join that quest for righteousness which from time to time might require us speaking out against unrighteousness and evil when we see it, looking to the God who judges to do right by His creation.
Maybe it is time we considered engaging with God more honestly on such issues than the lighter, fluffier approaches we may from time to time prefer.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden