Friday, January 22, 2016

Objections to Psalmody: What about Imprecatory Psalms?

It is not gracious words that praise God; it is grace in the heart produced by sung-meditation that praises God. This is a specialty of the Psalms. (p.111)

Curses in the Psalms are not provided for us to sing with relish, but even these hard lines are there for our faith and worship. (p.115)

The expectation of judgment is an inseparable feature of Christian hope. (p.117)

Imprecation is not strictly an Old Testament feature. It is found all through the Scriptures, even on the lips of the apostles, of Christ himself, and in the assemblies in heaven. But in all those examples, the judgments announced are articulations of God’s judgment, not personal vendetta. (p.117) [Jesus] is teaching (Mark 11:24-5, Matt 23:37-39) us that we must have a heart of grace, even when we do announce God’s judgment. (p.118)

[The Psalter] is designed for the church’s use across all ages and cultures, and in all kinds of circumstances. And there are times when the persecution and cruelty against God’s people reaches such a fervor that we need Christ-led hymns of justice like this to guide us in what to do with all the deep pain and turmoil we experience. (p.121)

Imprecatory Psalms remind us that Jesus is a good king, but not a ‘tame’ king. (p.124)

The curses announced in Psalm 137 are a sung articulation of the judgments which the Lord himself had pronounced. The word of the Lord came to Isaiah during the exile, saying. “The oracle concerning Babylon...I myself have commanded my consecrated ones, and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger...Whoever is found will be thrust through, and whoever is caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed in pieces before their eyes.” (Isa. 13:1-16) (p.127)

(Singing the Songs of Jesus, Michael Lefebvre)


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