Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. (13) Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? (14) But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. (15) Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.
(16) The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. (17) O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear (18) to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. Psalm 10:12-18 ESV
Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Love. Mercy. Justice? How does that last one fit into our Christian experience? Jesus said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Maybe the prayers of Psalm 10 are Old Testament stuff, not for us today? Maybe the same applies to all of those other Psalm-prayers that we call imprecatory?
Because God has never changed and never will change; His justice, wrath, and judgment against the wicked still stands. In fact, it is increasing in its intensity as evil men oppress His people.
Let me prove it with a NEW Testament imprecatory prayer –
Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. (5) This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering — (6) since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, (7) and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels (8) in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, (10) when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10
Pretty tough words, right? When a victim of abuse comes to us for help, we need to tell them about the wrath and judgment of God that is set against the evil happening to them! We do not need to preach to victims about how they need to be kind to their abuser, how they need to love him, how they need to forgive him and submit to him….blah, blah, blah.
We are not denying that the Christian is to love his enemies and do good to his persecutors as he has opportunity, not seeking personal vengeance. But victims need the encouragement and affirmation from us that God is FOR them, and that He is AGAINST their abuser. And we need to stand by these victims and assure them that WE are for them as well! I suggest that it is very appropriate to sit down with an abuse victim, open our Bible up to an imprecatory prayer Psalm like Psalm 10, and pray through it with the victim! We almost seem to think today in our Christian circles that to do such a thing is sinful!
Have we tamed God? Maybe in our minds. But in reality, He is the same consuming fire He always has been, and as such is to be feared with a terrorizing fear by any person who would dare oppress His people, His bride.