Church of the Living God

Dump the President!

(This post is part of a series. For an introduction to the topic read, “How ought we read the Bible?” To see all posts in this topic, go to “Does the Bible really say that?”)

 

This is embarrassing and ridiculous, and it’s way too common to see it after someone is elected that we don’t approve of:

“May his days be few; may another take his office!” – Ps 109:8

Facebook has unfortunately given these embarrassments a larger platform. Besides the fact that this ignores the principles of reading in context with proper hermeneutics as we have discussed previously, this passage is scathing. Read it all and see if you would put the rest of the passage on your bumper or your FB wall. Just a couple nuggets for you to chew on:

  • Verse 9:  “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
  • Verse 10: “Let his children wander about and beg; and let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes”

There is a lot more in that chapter, and it isn’t pretty. David is ticked. He invokes no less than 30 curses upon his enemy. This chapter falls under the category of “imprecatory prayer”. The exact situation and people David had in mind when writing this is not clear. If anyone had grounds to feel pursued and unjustly persecuted, it was David. He had plenty of opportunity to shake his fist at enemies and to ask God why. Just a bit of reading David’s story and you’ll have a hard time not sympathizing with his plea. However, it is important to note that while God understood David and comforted him, he never affirmed his prayer as a model for us. It is probably helpful to think in terms of description rather than prescription. In short, this passage describes David’s actions, but it does not instruct us how we should act. Think of the Psalms as David’s journal to God through music. Just like any diary, it is honest and raw. David doesn’t beat around the bush. He doesn’t hide his elation or his anger. This book ought to tell us something about our honesty in speaking to God. But to take it in isolation as a basis for how we ought to live is going to lead us in directions that are contrary to the rest of the Bible.

So while the nature of his grievance and the extent of his response are beyond our scope, I do want to ask one question. Do you really want the President to die? Do you want his children to be homeless orphans? In my opinion, this is nothing short of evil, and Christians should be ashamed for throwing this around.

I’m not excusing the actions of President [fill in the blank], but Psalm 109 does not address the American political system. And any Christian seriously interested in what the Bible has to say about governance should spend some time contemplating Romans 13. But setting the political implications aside, I have a very difficult time understanding why any Christian would respond to another human being by hoping that they lose their job and their life and leave their family in shambles. To me, the spreading of this message is precisely the opposite of what we ought to be about.

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