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 Israel’s Hymnbook
     The Wiley Drake Saga
• “If he (Obama) does not turn to God
  and does not turn his life around, I am
  asking God to enforce imprecatory
  prayers that are throughout the
  Scripture that would cause him death,
  that's correct."
• “Imprecatory prayer is agreeing with
  God, and if people don't like that, they
  need to talk to God. God said it, I
  didn't. I was just agreeing with God.”

      The Imprecatory Problem
• Out of deep hurt, the Psalmist calls on God
  to avenge him and destroy his enemies.
  – 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139
     • Psalm 55:15 - Let death take my enemies by surprise;
       let them go down alive to the grave.
     • Psalm 58:6 - O God, break the teeth in their mouths.
     • Psalm 69:28 - May they be blotted out of the book of
       life and not be listed with the righteous.
     • Psalm 109:9 - May his children be fatherless and his
       wife a widow.
     • Psalm 137:9 - How blessed will be the one who seizes
       your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
• “Imprecate” to invoke evil
  – A prayer that asks God to do harm to another
Psalm 109: 9 May his children be
  fatherless and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering
  beggars; may they be driven from
  their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
  may strangers plunder the fruits of
  his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
  or take pity on his fatherless

13 May  his descendants be cut off, their
  names blotted out from the next
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be

  remembered before the LORD; may
  the sin of his mother never be blotted
15 May their sins always remain before

  the LORD, that he may cut off the
  memory of them from the earth.
• This seems in direct conflict with NT ethic and
  – Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when others
    revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of
    evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice
    and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,
    for so they persecuted the prophets who were
    before you.
  – Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, ove your
    enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
  – Romans 12:20-21 To the contrary, “if your enemy
    is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him
    something to drink; for by so doing you will heap
    burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome
    by evil, but overcome evil with good.
      Imprecatory Perspectives
• They arise out of a deep sense of
  hurt and bitterness.
  – We are allowed to take our raw,
    unfiltered emotions to God
• They are a call for God’s justice
  – “Naqam” avenge, vindicate, save in
  – God is the Righteous Judge who
    defends and upholds righteousness:
    • Naqam is his right!
  – Psalmist calls for God’s justice, does
    not take personal vengeance
• They demonstrate abhorrence
  for sin
  –Pr 8:13 he fear of the Lord is
   hatred of evil.
• They are “under the sun” - asking
  God to bring justice in this world
  – wisdom books focus on the temporal,
    not the eternal

• They represent OT ethical framework
  – The truth of God was revealed gradually
    Jesus’ “higher ethic” (Sermon on
• We may turn to God with our hurts
  and pain and seek his justice, but
  must also love and bless our enemies.
  – In the NT era, it is inappropriate to pray
    imprecatory psalms against those who
    annoy, hurt or abuse us. We are to
    evangelize them and seek to bless them.

            Praying in Pain
• When a person is causing you pain
  – Take your hurt and pain to God
  – State your concern to the Father honestly
    and plainly
  – Pray for God’s activity in the situation
  – Let God and His Word shape your thought
• Remember New Testament perspective
  – Pray for the person causing you pain
  – Love and forgive
  – Vengeance is the Lord’s, not yours.

       Songs of Thanksgiving
• Praising and thanking God in response
  to an event of deliverance experienced
  – lament looks forward to God’s deliverance,
    thanksgiving looks back at it.
  – Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is
    good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in
• Thanks=“hodah” (hodu) can mean “give
  thanks, acknowledge, confess, proclaim”
  – acknowledging the activity of God.
• Songs of Thanksgiving/Hymns of Praise
  – Tehillim “Praise Hymn” extols God in
    general, his character, his majesty, his
    sovereign rule in history
  – Shir “Song of Thanksgiving” extols God’s
    activity in a particular situation
  – The line between the two is often unclear
    • Psalm 103 could be either song or hymn
• Two kinds of Songs: community and


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