Thursday, December 31, 2009

Should the Christian Pray for the Destruction of God's Enemies?

Here was some interesting commentary from the ESV Study Bible regarding imprecatory prayers. There has been a lot of talk about whether a Christian should pray for the destruction of the enemies of God and many quickly scoff at the idea. I mean really, who would really pray for harm to come to those who oppose the gospel?

Psalm 35 with an emphasis on vs. 4-8

"4 Let them be put to shame and dishonor
who seek after my life!
Let them be d turned back and disappointed
who devise evil against me!
5 Let them be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord driving them away!
6 Let their way be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them!
7 For without cause they hid their net for me;
without cause they dug i a pit for my life.
8 Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it!
And let the net that he hid ensnare him;
let him fall into it—to his destruction!"

ESV Online Study Bible Crossway: Let Them Be Ashamed
The faithful pray that the schemes of the pursuers would fail, and that the pursuers themselves would suffer disappointment and humiliation, and finally destruction. There are many reasons that such a prayer is proper for God's people to pray.
  1. It is realistic; God's protection of the faithful means that he must thwart the schemes of those who would harm them.
  2. It is just, since the pursuers devise evil (v. 4), and without cause they hid their net for me (v. 7). (Observe the repetition of “without cause,” in vv. 7, 19.) Third, it takes God at his word (cf. v. 5 with 1:4).
  3. From all of this it is plain that the prayer is not a vindictive response to personal injury but an appeal based on faith."

Ultimately, the world will scoff at the idea that God will punish sin and all those who practice it...they love evil and hate righteousness. Sadly, even in the church we make a god who is not just and will simply turn a blind eye to evil.

Whether or not we should pray imprecatory prayers is up for debate but one thing is certain-God will bring destruction upon those who are without Christ so it is important that we are preaching the gospel and warning sinners of the wrath that is to come.