Our Righteous Judge Blunts the Enemy’s Arrows in Psalm 58

Our Righteous Judge Blunts the Enemy’s Arrows in Psalm 58

This psalm is one of the most unusual of all the psalms. David vividly contrasts God and his righteous ones with the evil enemies who grasp at and abuse power.

“Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods? Do you judge the children of man uprightly? No, in your hearts you devise wrongs; your hands deal out violence on earth.” Psalm 58:1-2

Unequal scales are never good. Wrong-doing or ill-treatment is worse when perpetrated by people in authority. David confronts these powerful people—“gods” or “mighty ones,” in some translations—who abuse their position and devise wrongs. They deal in violence. They think they are the final word on right and wrong. They are a law unto themselves. David confronts and challenges their relevance. He questions and confronts the veracity of their claims.

“The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. They have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear, so that it does not hear the voice of charmers or of the cunning enchanter.” Psalm 58:3-5

Why are we surprised when power is abused? Why are we surprised when people decide they can determine what’s right and wrong? David reminds us that the wicked go off-track from birth. They are venomous. They listen to no one. No arguments made by man can turn them to the right way. We’ve been told, “With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead…do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:4-5, 12). This is a battle.

The Spirit of God must break through any heart, but it is especially clear in the case of these who have only known and done evil.

“O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord! Let them vanish like water that runs away; when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted.” Psalm 58:6-7

Only God can disable these enemies. Only God can remove their fangs. Only God can make them disappear. Only God can take their dangerous weapons and blunt them. As a snail dissolves into slime, these enemies meet their match when God acts.

“Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!” Psalm 58:9

Teeth are broken, fangs torn out, water runs away, and arrows are blunted. Further, David illustrates with a cooking pot over thorns. It matters not if they are green thorns are already alight. The unrighteous are swept away faster than the pot will feel the heat. The unrighteous power abuser is, likewise, broken, torn out, pushed away, blunted, and swept away.

Their abusive power is empty. Their power is no match for God’s. The righteous, who trust in God as their refuge, rejoice to see God avenge the injustice.

Any person who endures the effects of this broken world must face their difficulties with patience. Whether facing mistreatment, tragedy, pain, or loss, the righteous must stand firm knowing that all things—even difficulties—can be redeemed for good (Romans 8:28). All things are not good. But God overwhelms brokenness.

God’s power causes mankind to recognize reward comes to the righteous. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good”‭‭ (1 Peter‬ ‭4:19). The evil who abuse their power and decree what is right in their own eyes are proven to be less than omniscient. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (‭‭1 Peter 3:12).‬ They are not all-knowing. They make a fatal mistake. They devise wrongs, but God rescues the righteous. The earth watches and sees a God who is a righteous judge.

“Mankind will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.’” Psalm 58:11


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