(23 verses, 2:00 to read)
What I am about to READ
- Psalm 94 is a prayer against the Church’s enemies.
- vv. 1-2 call upon God to act on behalf of His people.
- vv. 3-7 and vv. 20-21 cry out to God, citing the great wickedness of the Church’s enemies.
- vv. 8-11 is a warning to the evil doers.
- vv. 12-19 and vv. 22-23 is a word of comfort to those who accept the Lord’s discipline and assurance that God’s justice will prevail.
- Psalm 94 is one of the so-called imprecatory psalms, where the Church is taught to pray against her enemies. These are difficult for us to reconcile with Jesus’ directive to pray for our enemies. However, the two are not in conflict with one another. The imprecatory psalms are a good exercise in praying the words God has given us to pray and distinguishing between Law and Gospel. The Psalms are God’s prayerbook (see Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Prayerbook of the Bible), which are His Words, given to us to pray. And because God speaks to us in both Law and Gospel, we must learn to distinguish properly between the two. Here, we see how much wrath God has over the enemies of His beloved children–both Christ and those whom He has adopted in Holy Baptism. This wrath must be preached in its full sternness, lest we fail to fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
- As Christians, we bear witness to all manner of atrocities against us and our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and across time. How often are we told that our God doesn’t exist (The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive” v. 7)? How often do those outside the Church mock us for our faith (They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers boast v. 4)?
- God may use these attacks as a form of discipline for our sinful flesh. So that we do not trust in our own righteousness, God lays crosses upon us. This teaches us to trust in Him alone. In the end, however, this discipline leads to a return of God’s righteousness. In other words, when we confess that we are sinners who cannot stand before God, Christ steps in as our righteousness and defends us from God’s wrath from above and our enemies from below.
- Even if we don’t see God’s righteous judgment carried out, the Lord assures us that it will be executed on the Last Day, when He comes to judge the living and the dead. There, He will give eternal life to all those who trusted in Christ alone for their salvation and cast into hell all those who forsook our Lord’s Word and persecuted Christ and His Church.
- Prayer: O Lord, convert the unbelievers, rebuke the erring, and bring unity to Your Church on earth. Grant us relief from all that afflicts us here, and patience to bear our crosses. Amen.
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-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN
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