Imprecation As a Guard Against Personal Vengeance

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Following this morning’s sermon on 2 Samuel 4:1-12, Pastor Wilson gave a charge that went something like this: “If you think we shouldn’t pray the imprecatory Psalms because we shouldn’t be vengeful, you’ve got it backward: We should implore God to bring about His vengeance so that we won’t be so tempted to take the prerogative of vengeance upon ourselves.” (Actually, I don’t think it went anything like that, but I think that captures the gist of the thought.)

We must also bind up our imprecations with blessing (Matt. 5:44, etc.) by praying first that He would destroy His enemies by destroying their enmity and making them His friends. And if our enemies are already His friends, but aren’t behaving like it, we must pray first that He will grant them the blessing of repentance. Those parameters will help us keep our own bitterness and vindictiveness out of the picture so that we can earnestly and blamelessly pray that He will requite every wicked deed.

We can and must even pray these sorts of things upon our own heads, asking Him to remove sin from us by whatever means necessary and gratefully submitting to the discipline He metes out on us, trusting that it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.

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