“‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’” - Deuteronomy 27:19
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. – Isaiah 1:16-17
Psalm 94 is an especially powerful call for the LORD to intervene: O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve!
Listen closely to the Psalmist’s complaint: They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. They crush Your people, O LORD, and afflict Your heritage. They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless… The Psalmist knows the law and the prophets; he knows how things should be among the people of God. Here in Psalm 94, the law and the prophets intersect upon a prayer of one who is confident only because the LORD is his help: “They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.”
But a sharp turn occurs in Psalm 95, and the remainder of today’s Psalms are calls to the congregation to celebrate and worship the LORD. “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” bears no resemblance to the shadow of suffering and lament to which we’ve grown accustomed. Psalm 94 feels like rock bottom, against which Psalm 95 and its successors jolt our senses.
But neither is out of place, if we consider the course of life. The petition for the LORD’s vengeance and the celebration of the LORD’s rescue are, for the righteous, a firm acknowledgement of the LORD’s sovereignty and faithfulness. For the Psalmist knows, and wants the congregation to sing, that “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Our verses for this week are Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalms 94 through 102. Now let’s read it!
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.