By Alex Florez
The collection of psalms in Book II express lament and distress about present circumstances and conditions while looking to the faithfulness of God.
The psalms often confound me when they shift from a euphoric meditation on God’s glory to a blood-chilling chorus of vitriol about one’s enemies. In Psalms 66–68, there are sweeping celebrations of God’s mercy and love but peppered in the mix, we find “enemies” cringing, being scattered, blown away, melted, and destroyed.
What does this mean for those of us whose iniquity has been covered by the blood of Jesus? We would be foolish to read these indictments of God’s enemies as a personal vindication; it would be unbecoming of us to revel in our salvation while scoffing and sneering at the unsaved. Instead, we ought to think of them as invitations to partake of God’s mission to reclaim the lost and heal the broken.
I know firsthand what it is to be unrepentant, unforgiven, and unwelcome in the presence of God; I know what it is to be spiritually dead, even if I wasn’t aware of the condition at the time. Therefore, should I not have deep empathy for even the most wicked among us since I was once just like them?
Furthermore, Jesus came to heal the sick and not the well (Mark 2:17). Is not enmity with God the greatest, most severe, and most permanently fatal malady that a human being can suffer? I imagine that Jesus, the Great Physician (Matthew 9:12), is drawn emphatically to those in whom the existential disease of sin has proliferated most aggressively. Therefore, we might conclude that those whom we might look at and deem to be God’s greatest enemies are the ones who need Him most.
So, instead of spending my time and energy figuring out who God’s enemies are, instead of celebrating that I get to be one of the good guys instead of one of those “other people over there,” I prefer to engage with the psalms—even the most troubling ones—by basking in God’s love.
Reflecting on what He’s done for me, I desire to “shout joyfully” (Psalm 66:1) and sing praise to His name (Psalm 67:4). If I respond to God’s magnificence with joy and thankfulness, my words and actions will begin to reflect God’s glory so that everyone in my path—saved and unsaved alike—would witness a living example of God’s grace. Indeed, God can use me to demonstrate before the eyes of the lost, the lonely, and the unloveable that God is capable of anything.
Lord, may the work of salvation you have tendered to my broken heart be an instrument that beckons people to come and hear for themselves the symphony of grace that proceeds from the heart of Jesus Christ. Then, with full-throated vigor, may I echo your words to “let the peoples praise you, God; let all the peoples praise you” (Psalm 67:3). Surely, if people witness in me an authentically joyful response to God’s glory, even His most convicted enemies might be compelled to taste and see that He is good.