The Lord is a God who avenges.
O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, Judge of the earth;
pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long, Lord, will the wicked,
how long will the wicked be jubilant?
They pour out arrogant words;
all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush your people, Lord;
they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
They say, ‘The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice.’
Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;
you fools, when will you become wise?
Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
Does he who formed the eye not see?
Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
The Lord knows all human plans;
he knows that they are futile.
Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord,
the one you teach from your law;
you grant them relief from days of trouble,
till a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not reject his people;
he will never forsake his inheritance.
Judgment will again be founded on righteousness,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Who will rise up for me against the wicked?
Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
Unless the Lord had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’
your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
your consolation brought me joy.
Can a corrupt throne be allied with you –(Ps. 94:1-23 NIV)
a throne that brings on misery by its decrees?
The wicked band together against the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my fortress,
and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
He will repay them for their sins
and destroy them for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will destroy them.
There is a structure to many of the Psalms that we have already considered. I haven’t always pointed out that structure, but I will for this Psalm.
- A. The God of vengeance v1-2
- B. The Arrogant words of the wicked v 3-7
- C. Rebuke of the wicked v8-11
- C’ Blessing of the wise v12-15
- B.’ The lament on account of the wicked v16-21
- B. The Arrogant words of the wicked v 3-7
- A.’ Confidence in the vengeance of the Lord v22-23.
The Psalmist prays for God’s kingdom to shine forth so that the oppressed people of God may experience the light of His rule.
The covenant LORD is the God who avenges. God’s vengeance is not vindictive but a righteous response to the evil perpetrated by the wicked. The punishment of the wicked is what they deserve. The prayer for the Lord to shine forth is a request for a theophany, when the Lord will appear to bring justice to the world. When God appears He will rise up in judgement. He will appear in royal splendour. The splendour of the Lord will be sufficient to bring down all rule and authority. The Lord is awesome in His appearance. The proud are those who showed no regard for the Lord. At the present time the wicked are jubilant in their celebration of wickedness and their power. Out of their mouths flow self-important words that reveal the arrogant attitude that they have. They boast of what they have achieved and what they plan to accomplish. Anyone who gets in their way will be crushed before them. They crush the people of God and oppress those who are the Lord’s inheritance. They abuse the widow and the foreigners in the land who would have expected hospitality, they murder orphans and they have no concept that they will have to give an account. They have lived this way for years and they even brag that the Lord does not see or pay any attention to what they do. They are a law onto themselves. How long will the Lord allow this to go on?
The Psalmist warns the wicked. They have no sense and are fools. When will they ‘wise up’? Do they really think that the God who created the ear, does not hear? That the Lord who formed the eye, does He not see? The Lord who punishes the nations, surely He will punish those covenant breakers. The Lord is the great teacher, do they really believe that He lacks knowledge? The Lord knows our every single thought and God knows that the thoughts of the wicked are futile.
In sharp contrast to the way of the wicked, the way of the wise is blessed. God disciplines His own, and teaches His own the law of God. In the times of trouble You bring relief to Your stricken people. Sometimes the Lord digs the pit for the foolish to fall into, at other times they dig a pit for themselves. The Lord will not reject His people, God will never leave or forsake them. The Lord’s judgements will be founded on righteousness and the people of God will follow and concur with those judgements.
The first concern of this Psalm was how long, the concern is now who will rise up and be there for me against the wicked. Who is there to take a stand against the wicked? The Psalmist acknowledges that unless the Lord had come to his aid, he would have already been in the grave. When the Psalmist felt that he was slipping, the covenant love (hesed) of the Lord supported him. In the darkest days of the people of God in the OT, it is the covenant love (hesed) that comforts them and gives them a sense of hope. When God strips everything else away and there is nothing left but covenant love, then the people of God realise that it really is all they need. For those of us who feel anxious it is good to meditate upon the consolation that the love of God brings to us.
There are many corrupt rulers in this world. Despots who rob the wealth of the nation to furnish their own luxuries. A corrupt ruler has no place in the Kingdom of God. Their thrones will be destroyed, their reign of terror will be brought to an end.
Even in these days as we pray for God’s Kingdom to come, the Lord already is our fortress, He is the rock in whom we take refuge. The wicked will be repaid, they will be destroyed. That is the destiny of the fool who is without God.
Lord God Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Lord we acknowledge Your rightful rule in our hearts. Forgive us for setting up thrones of autonomy in our hearts, areas where we want to, and like to, rule. Lord You are Sovereign over all of our lives because You have bought us with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord as we see others arrogantly reject Your rule and fail to acknowledge Your Sovereignty, help us not to side with that mindset by holding back domains in our lives. Lord have mercy upon us and help us to walk the wise way in life, because we pray in Jesus name. Amen