30 Jul 2020
Jesus said "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). That's a hard rule to follow! We are more inclined to follow the Psalmist and pray "Give them according to the evil of their deeds"!
There is a disturbing tension there. You find it in several of the psalms where the writer pray for the destruction of evil men rather than their salvation (see Psalm 139:18 - 22). But let us take a second look to see what lies behind the Psalmist's prayers.
First of all he shows there is a clear difference between good and evil, between what God loves and what he hates.
The second thing is that those who wrote those psalms see what the evil people do as an affront to God like 'kicking God in the teeth' and they are outraged. You don't do that to God!
Again, these writers, like all the Old Testament believers saw a God's favour for his people and justice for the wicked in terms of this life. They wanted to see God punish wicked people now. But the Psalm writers always asked God to carry out his justice — they did not attempt to do it for him. And that is how we see things will work out in the end. The book of Revelation in chapter 20:11 - 14 shows clearly how God will finally judge the wicked and all wickedness.
So should I ask God to destroy the wicked? We should pray that he would destroy wickedness but that he would save the wicked people. Only God himself can ultimately do both.