Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18 – Against Evil

Calvin and Hobbes - imprecation

O God, do not be silent!
Do not be deaf.
Do not be quiet, O God.
Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies?
Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up?
They devise crafty schemes against your people;
they conspire against your precious ones.
“Come,” they say, “let us wipe out Israel as a nation.
We will destroy the very memory of its existence….”

O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed,
like chaff before the wind!
As a fire burns a forest
and as a flame sets mountains ablaze,
chase them with your fierce storm;
terrify them with your tempest.
Utterly disgrace them
until they submit to your name, O Lord.
Let them be ashamed and terrified forever.
Let them die in disgrace.
Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord,
that you alone are the Most High,
supreme over all the earth. (NLT)

The psalms are the church’s prayer book.  Many of the psalms are laments and many of them are worshipful songs of praise. Then there are the “imprecatory” (pronounced im-PRECK-a-tory) psalms.  To “imprecate” means to invoke evil upon someone; it is to pronounce a curse.  The reason for the imprecatory psalm is that it is not any person’s place to engage in revenge or retaliation.  Instead, for people who are genuinely caught in the cross-hairs of evil and have sinful persons dogging them, prayer is their most effective recourse.

Sometimes you must tell it like it is.  There is a time to do your best in putting up a good face and dealing with people who do not ever stop gossiping, slandering, and trying to get their way.

There is also a time to call such behavior “evil” and cry out to God for help.

There are many folks who consider imprecatory psalms a problem because of their detailed expressions of imprecation. Yet, such psalms refuse to put a positive spin on malevolent motives, wicked words, and destructive actions. Desperate people utter desperate prayers. Their unflinching sense of injustice will not allow them to sugarcoat the villainous plans of corrupt people. Evil is never toppled with tepid prayers from wimpy worshipers. Rather, nefarious agendas are thwarted in the teeth of specific, focused, and intense prayers directed with spiritual precision to the very core of diabolical forces.

We need not be shy about being real with God, even with praying imprecatory prayers.  There really are people in this world, maybe even in your own life, that have malicious intent against you or others.  Our job is not personal revenge, but to entrust ourselves to the God who fights for the poor, the oppressed, and the needy against the arrogant and the powerful.

Let your prayers reflect your life.

Along with psalms of praise lifted during times of celebration, so imprecatory psalms are not to be ignored but need to be uttered equally loud as prayers to almighty God in seasons of desperate evil. If you have a gut feeling deep down that wicked people are running amok, then use this psalm as a prayer against the darkness which seeks to envelop the earth.

Jesus Christ will build his church and the gates of hell shall not overcome it (Matthew 16:18). The picture Jesus portrayed is one of faithful believers equipped with righteousness and justice storming the gates of hell, not shying away from it. Baked within the Lord’s words were the promise that evil atrocities will not have the day – that God’s people will not be destroyed or overwhelmed because of demonic and satanic power.

There is a time to flee and then there is a time to engage. I am suggesting that the chief way of mitigating evil is to punch it in the mouth with imprecatory psalms prayed with righteous flavor and focused directly against the powers of this present darkness. Why prayer of all things in dealing with evil?…

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV)

Spiritual problems require spiritual implements to solve. And the tool of imprecatory psalms is a major way of not only pushing back the dark forces of this world but is the means of spiritual assertiveness against all forms of heinous acts and acerbic words from depraved people and evil systems.

God’s wrath is an expression of God’s love.

God is not okay with evil taking root in the lives and institutions of humanity. Prayer is our privilege of coming to the God who upholds justice and righteousness. For if God is for us, who can be against us?

God Almighty, may you hear me in the day of my trouble and send help from your holy sanctuary and strengthen my faith. Breathe your Holy Spirit into me and inspire me with a passion for goodness and truth, justice, and righteousness. Lord Jesus be present with me in your risen power and protect me from harm and from all that would hinder your healing presence in this world. You overcame the forces of Satan, redeemed the world, then ascended to the Father. May you be with me and within me; before me and behind me; on my right and on my left; above me and beneath me; and around me always. Amen.

One thought on “Psalm 83:1-4, 13-18 – Against Evil

  1. Tim – i love this reflection. Very powerful. Honest. Bold. To specifically pray for God’s help I’m destroying evil. Naming evil and standing against it. I want to keep sitting with this. Thank you.

    You and Mary are close in my heart and prayers 🙏🏼

    Sent from my iPhone – please forgive any typos.



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