ODJ: Changing Our Tune

April 21, 2016 

READ: Psalm 58:1-11 

Surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth (v.11).

When my friend received a traffic ticket for speeding in a construction zone, he decided to contest it in court. As he put it, he was driving below the posted speed limit when another vehicle raced past him. The police officer’s radar gun had recorded the other car’s speed. But the judge would have none of it.

I know my friend is conscientious to a fault, so I believed his story. The real lawbreaker got away while a prudent driver got fined.

This incident doesn’t rank high on the injustice scale; still, something in us bristles when we encounter the law being misapplied. We want a higher power to make things right, not reinforce the wrong.

In Psalm 58, we find David lamenting real injustice. The poet—warrior hadn’t yet ascended the throne and could do little about unscrupulous leaders. So he angrily observed: “You plot injustice in your hearts. You spread violence throughout the land” (v.2). Then he called down curses on them (vv.6—10). Wait a minute . . . in a psalm?!

Psalm 58 appears in the middle of three psalms bearing the superscription: “To be sungiven that title we don’t know, but beneath the edgy emotions ofg to the tune ‘Do Not Destroy.’ ” Why the tune was all three songs is a larger principle: David will leave revenge in the hands of God, who alone can enact true justice.

The choice of the same tune is purposeful. Anger at evil is normal and good, but when we realize that we all need God’s forgiveness and protection, we “change our tune.” That’s why David could conclude his poem containing righteous anger with these words: “Then at last everyone will say, ‘There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth’ ” (v.11).

—Tim Gustafson

365-day-plan: 1 Kings 21:1-29

Read Psalm 57:1–59:17 to see David’s intertwined themes of anger at injustice and complete reliance on God for protection and ultimate justice. 
What angers you today and why? Do you get angry at injustice directed toward others? How does God’s righteous anger help you see His heart for justice?