1Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The lovingkindness of God endures all day long.
2Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit.
3You love evil more than good,
Falsehood more than speaking what is right. Selah.
4You love all words that devour,
O deceitful tongue.
5But God will break you down forever;
He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent,
And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah.
6The righteous will see and fear,
And will laugh at him, saying,
7“Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge,
But trusted in the abundance of his riches
And was strong in his evil desire.”
8But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.
9I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it,
And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.
I feel kind of bad that I include these entire Psalms and then just focus on one or two verses within them, but I just try to process the parts in particular that grab me when i read them. I apologize if I have taken them out of context or misread them. I would probably feel better if I used outside commentaries, but this is not a close exegetical study.
I think before I start dealing with this Psalm I want to take a moment to talk about Beth-Shemesh. I was in Israel standing on the ancient site of a place called Beth-Shemesh just over a year ago. It was the middle of the day on a beautiful spring afternoon and as I stood on a small hill and looked out over the rolling green land surrounding me, the cool breeze became a gust of wind and blew against my face. It is one of my favorite moments in Israel, nothing special happened, I didn’t learn anything crazy world-shattering at that site, but in that swell of a breeze I felt the presence of God. I don’t know what it is about the breeze, about the wind, that makes me so sure that God is present, but I love it nonetheless. All of that to say that I am sitting outside of Duke Hall on west campus at APU right now as I write this, and there is a beautiful breeze blowing as the sun is beginning its descent.
The part of this Psalm that stood out to me most was the last verse. I think it is interesting that the psalmist says “I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it.” What did God do? Snatched up and uprooted the evil man? Maybe this goes back to the fact that God brings justice to the earth. Those who reap evil through their devouring words will be brought to justice by the Saving God. It say that God has already done it. But why then do we see such terrible things happening all around us? It seems to go back to the theology of Pannenberg that I brought up the other day. God will come and he will make things justified and at that point it will become evident that it has been true all along. I’m not saying this is the answer at all, but it just intrigues me.
The second half of verse 9 is my favorite part. And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones. I have a patience issue. I am terrible at being patient beyond reason. But I will wait upon the name of the Lord. I will wait upon it, because it is Good. It is good in a way that nothing else is good. And not only will I wait upon His name, but I will do so in the presence of His godly ones. I do not have to do it alone. Hopefully awaiting the coming of the Lord is not something that God expects us to do alone, and that gives me hope.