Slippery Slopes

Psalm 94

Have you ever sung that song where the line goes, “When the world’s “all as it should be, Blessed be Your name.” This is definitely not one of those songs.

For the salmist the world is not running the way it should be. In fact it is running diametrically opposed to the way many of us think the world should run. Here the psalmist is honest enough to pray his emotions. He feels angry about his situation. Even in the midst of his anguish the Psalmist appeals to dual concepts of a Just Judge and God of Vengeance (seen in Deut. 32:35; Gen. 18:25).

Psa. 94:1 O LORD, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Psa. 94:2 Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!

Often when we hear the terms vengeance and wrath we feel that this cannot reconcile with the way we think the world should run, let alone how God should operate.

God’s love and his wrath are intrinsically linked; any de-coupling of these two concepts makes him less than loving and less than just.  If we simply look at the human analogy of a loving relationship between a father and an alcoholic son.  The more a father loves a son, the more this said father will be opposed to the drink and the lying that is destroying his son.  In fact we would think the father to be unloving if he were not diametrically opposed and even upset at that which was destroying his son.

The Psalm then ends showing us how God often allows his divine displeasure to come forth. It is actually one of the most loving things he can do. Ultimately he will not force a people to love him who choose to hate. The Psalmist describes this divine displeasure as “passive wrath.” The Lord chooses to allow the proud and the unloving to fall into the very pits they have dug for themselves(v13). Even the Psalmist saw his own heart headed in this same slippery direction (v.18). But God intervened and rescued him and prevented his foot from slipping.

CS Lewis put it brilliantly when he said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”

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