Daily Reading: More Psalms
As I’ve continued to read through the psalms of King David it seems each one falls into at least one of three categories. There are psalms of praise and thanksgiving. Psalms of David asking for help. And lastly, there are psalms of…what I’ll call…crazy bloodlust.
Turns out our friend King David is a serious Guns N’ Roses fan because the dude has a major appetite for destruction. (I really, really wish our Internet technology allowed me to insert some sweet 80’s guitar riffs right here. I mean, TED, Skype and icanhascheezburger.com are amazingly fantastic uses of technology and everything…I just wish it included more 80’s electric guitar is all.) Not only does David often ask God to help him, to rescue him from his enemies, but he usually takes it one step further. David often asks God to pretty much obliterate his enemies in the process. Exhibits A through D:
“Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and make their bodies shake continuously. Pour out your fury on them; consume them with your burning anger.” (Psalm 69:23-24)
“Let burning coals fall down on their heads. Let them be thrown into the fire or into watery pits from which they can’t escape. Don’t let liars prosper here in our land. Cause great disasters to fall on the violent.” (Psalm 140:9-11)
“Rise up, O God and scatter your enemies. Let those who hate God run for their lives. Blow them away like smoke. Melt them like wax in a fire. Let the wicked perish in the presence of God.” (Psalm 68:1-2)
“May they be like snails that dissolve into slime, like a stillborn child who will never see the sun. God will sweep them away, both young and old, faster than a pot heats on burning thorns.” (Psalm 58:8-9)
Melt them like wax in a fire? David, I thought you were a man of compassion. Let burning coals fall down on their heads? David, that sounds like medieval torture bro. Let them be thrown into the fire? David, ease up with all the fire and burning people alive talk buddy. Make their bodies shake continuously? Seriously David? You’re asking that they have a constant barrage of seizures? May they be like a stillborn child? Geez man! I’m not even fully sure what that means, but it’s repulsive.
What is the deal with this guy? To quote one of the great philosophers of our time, a brilliant and insightful woman known as Fergie, “Where is the love?” Seriously David…where is it? You seem to want God to shower you with love, yet shower others with…well with torture, pain and death.
Those were my first thoughts. But as I continued to read, I discovered more and more of this man’s humanity. He’s just a guy. A regular, imperfect guy. (Why is it that Christians tend to think of people in the Bible as “characters” who are one-dimensional, and only capable of displaying a single emotion or character trait? Aren’t they just as wildly dynamic as we are?)
And a regular, imperfect guy can be a little emotional at times, a little over-zealous. Even a little outrageous. (Me trying to live life in my 20’s is a solid example. I was Steve Martin in The Jerk, just less charming, way, way more jerkish and equally as aloof.) I think that’s what’s going on here. Regular guy David has been harassed, attacked and hunted by his enemies and he’s had enough. He’s ready for it to end. And…he gets a little extreme in the process.
I’m not trying to give the guy an out to be a crazy pyscho or anything. I mean, I think we can all agree that the movie Seven does a great job of showing that weirdo torturers don’t mingle too well with the rest of society. But I am trying to see David as a regular dude, struggling through his emotions and thoughts like I do
So what am I saying? I’m saying David’s desire to see his enemies suffer and die caught me a little off guard. Really off guard actually. Especially because I was beginning to think of him as a weak and humble man. But that’s the point! He’s not JUST that. He’s also a ferocious warrior who has real enemies and knows they are a serious threat to his kingdom and who need to be removed from the equation. He’s a multifaceted man, capable of grace and love, who’s also capable of seriously laying the smack down.
He’s like Andre the Giant. In the ring the dude would mess you up. In The Princess Bride he warmed your heart with charming peanut comments. In real life, he was just a man.