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,
• “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
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
– 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.
• 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
–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
– 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