The answer, he follows the lead of King David, who saw the attack of evil on more than one occasion as a shepherd boy, a king elect, and as a king.
Psalmist Situation in A Fallen World 1-2
A shepherd could no more graphically depict the enormity of the threat of the enemy. As a young man caring for his father’s herd, David had observed a lamb pursued and torn apart by a wild beast. If he were writing a blog today, his verbal picture might be that of Ukrainian citizens being dismembered by the artillery shells launched by Russian troops. However, his ultimate vision is spiritual warfare tearing apart the souls of men.
Psalmist Confession and Repentance 3-5
These verses sound like the prayer one prays at public worship. As the Pastor leads in his morning prayer and says, “And now Father hear the private prayer of your people as they confess their sin,” the congregation silently offers a generalized confession.
We all have prayed such a prayer and then wondered later if it were genuine and sufficient. Here we have a model of such a prayer recorded in Scripture. Now, if there are specific sins of which one is aware, then a particular confession is appropriate. However, a generalized admission and confession are appropriate when unaware of a specific sin since we have erred and strayed like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our hearts without even an awareness that we have sinned. When John writes instructing his congregation, it is interesting that he does not call for specificity (I John 1:9) though it is undoubtedly appropriate when we are aware of specific sin.
Psalmist Basis for Seeking Judgement of the Wicked 7-9
David is writing in the context of progressive revelation (that is, he is speaking with a knowledge that God had so far disclosed to man). He is very aware that he has been chosen and anointed by God. He has practiced worshiping God by the Old Testament prescriptions. He, therefore, sees himself as righteous, in right standing with God. Hence, he prays that “let the evil of the wicked come to an end and establish the righteous” (9).
We have the completed revelation of God (Hebrews 1:1-2). If we have believed in Christ (John12:44), we have been chosen (Eph 1:3-7) and anointed by the Spirit (I John 2:18-29). We also know that the Enemy behind the enemies of righteous ones is Satan. Therefore, we can and should pray for the demise of evil (9). The Apostle John prays, “Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20), a prayer offered in the context of Jesus coming again in judgment.
Hence, by principle, it is appropriate to pray for the demise of evil rulers and the preservation of the innocent in the immediate world conflict, the end of President Putin, and the protection of the righteous in Ukraine.
Psalmist Is Confident that God is Judging Every Day 10-16
Here is a picture that modern evangelical Christianity tends to discount. There is a tendency to discount the Old Testament and what the 20th-century liberals referred to as the “bully God” the Old Testament in favor of the “loving God” of the New Testament. Sometimes one wonders if they are reading an edited New Testament since Jesus frequently spoke definite judgment tones—“For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness, for example (Matthew 23:27-28).
David affirms that God is righteous (11) yet has indignation every day (12). The picture the writer paints in the 20th century was observed in the likes of Hitler and now Putin. He pursued. He deceived. He destroyed. But his mischief fell upon his head, his people suffered, and his violence descended upon him (16). Like David, we should take hope from the fact that God says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:17-19).
Psalmist’s Response Even in Affliction 17
His response is the same as that of Paul when he admonishes teaches the Philippians a biblical method for processing anxiety (Phil 4:4-9)
First, he gives thanks to the righteousness of God (17a). Then he follows with the determination to sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High (17b).
The Apostle Paul reminds us, similarly, that God is sovereign. Therefore nothing can separate the believer from the love of the Father in that great passage of Romans eight twenty-six (the Spirit helps our weaknesses) through thirty-nine, finishing with the crescendo:
27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (ESV).
Join David in his prayer. Literally, make it your prayer in these days of biological warfare, the proliferation of corrupt politicians, pervasive internet evil, human trafficking, and deconstruction of the structure of the institution of marriage with evil is in your face all the time. Remember, God is Sovereign all the time. Join David in praying for judgment of evil, now as well as on judgment day. In the meantime, give thanks for God’s righteousness and praise for God’s justice—LORD Most High.
** We have looked and drawn upon David’s Psalm as one prayer focus in this struggle with evil There are other prayer foci. For example, at the present time, prayer for the Christ-followers in Ukraine. Prayer for the missionaries (I friends there now who have vacated Kyiv to the western border to help refugees). Pray for the Christ-followers in Afghanistan. Pray for aid workers both for their safety and that they might hear the gospel from those they serve. And, as my wife often says, “And the beat goes on.”