For someone who was once president of the college advocacy group for one of America’s major political parties, I have over the years “fallen from the ranks” and become almost blissfully apolitical. I try not to be so jaded, but it’s hard not to see the political arena for what it largely is — living proof of John Calvin’s theory of the “Total Depravity of Man.”
The recent activity (and inactivity) over the government shut-down is a prime example of this. Rather than reflect on it in my own sarcastic terms, I’ll let King David speak prophetically through the words of The Message –
Quick, God, I need your helping hand!
The last decent person just went down,
All the friends I depended on gone.
Everyone talks in lie language;
Lies slide off their oily lips.
They doubletalk with forked tongues. (Psalm 12:1-2)
King David knew intimately how allies become enemies, that you can’t trust your friends, and even close family members try to stab you behind your back. Rather than go on talk radio and whine his lot to a largely sympathetic audience, David turns to prayer and vents his rage.
Slice their lips off their faces!
Pull the braggart tongues from their mouths!
I’m tired of hearing, “We can talk anyone into anything!
Our lips manage the world.” (Psalm 12:3-4)
These are harsh words from a godly man. Should a Christian, taught by Jesus to love enemies, engage in such vengeful prayer? Absolutely! Pouring out our passionate anger in prayer helps prevent us from acting out in violence or through passive-aggression.
Understand, David is not so much angry for himself. He is angry for his people. Through his prayer, he announces that God is coming to set things straight.
Into the hovels of the poor,
Into the dark streets where the homeless groan,
God speaks: “I’ve had enough;
I’m on my way
To heal the ache in the heart of the wretched.” (Psalm 12:5)
David, “a man after God’s own heart,” is angry at the profound injustice perpetuated on the poor by putrid political policies from puny pundits.
Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the depravity of man, though, David sets his mind (and our minds) on “things above” –
God’s words are pure words,
Pure silver words refined seven times
In the fires of his word-kiln,
Pure on earth as well as in heaven.
God, keep us safe from their lies,
From the wicked who stalk us with lies,
From the wicked who collect honors
For their wonderful lies. (Psalm 12:5-6)
(photo above from Sheri Hardinger)