As we have already noted, God sees and hears people who are in distress and trouble. Most often in the Psalms we hear those cries from people who have trusted in God but are not seeing justice done. The affirmations of the goodness, justice, and power of God can seem overwhelmed by the injustice and oppression that the voices in these songs experience or observe.
Yet, these are the songs of those who are still singing. Neither their life nor their faith has been quenched. There is still hope; and the urgency is for God to act before it is too late, before evil triumphs, before the oppressed are destroyed by the weight of the evil brought against them. In this way, the writers of the Psalms try to bridge the gap between the affirmations of their faith and the trials and tragedies of life.
Read Psalm 9:7-9, Ps. 9:13-20. Can you imagine the circumstances David—the writer of the Psalm—was in? Can you feel the tension between his faith in God’s goodness and his present experience? How have you dealt with the struggle of faith in God amid times of severe trial?
Throughout the Psalms, the repeated answer to this tension is the hope and promise of God’s good and just judgment. Evil and injustice may seem triumphant for now, but God will judge the evildoers and the unjust. They will be punished while those they have hurt and oppressed will be restored and renewed.
In Reflections on the Psalms, C. S. Lewis describes his initial surprise at the excitement and longing for God’s judgment as expressed repeatedly in the Psalms. Observing that many Bible readers today consider judgment something to be feared, he considers the original Jewish perspective and writes, “thousands of people who have been stripped of all they possess and who have the right entirely on their side will at last be heard. Of course they are not afraid of judgment. They know their case is unanswerable—if only it could be heard. When God comes to judge, at last it will”. – C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1958), p. 11.
In the Psalms, we see hope for the oppressed, even now, even amid their present sufferings and disappointments.
|What reasons do we have to view the idea of judgment as positive, and not something to be feared?|