1–7 March 2015.
Psalm 58 talks about a topic we know well in Taiwan: corruption. In verses 1–5, the writer begins by describing problems that are so familiar to us. Rulers, he says, are supposed to create justice, fairness, and a good life for everyone. That’s the same expectation we have today; that’s why we elect them: to do good. But so often those leaders fail us. Instead of improving life for everyone, they seem to use their power to improve their own lives and make things worse for others. The psalm’s writer describes them as completely evil: inside and out. Their hearts don’t even want good things, so when they act, they use their power to create violence and injustice.
This leads the writer to call for God’s punishment on these bad leaders. In verses 6–8, he prays for God to strip away their power, to break the teeth of these evil snakes and lions, to make them like a weak army. Then the people no longer need to be afraid of them. When a snake has no fangs to bite, there is no reason to fear it.
And instead of just their power disappearing, the writer also prays for God to make those rulers themselves disappear. Like water that drains away, like snails that dissolve into slime, or (the scariest example) like a miscarried baby, let them completely disappear and never be remembered. Then the people will celebrate, because they no longer need to put up with injustice.
The writer tells us that when people see evil rulers removed from power, then they will know that God exists; they will know that a God of justice really reigns over this world. This is not only our hope, but also a challenge that the writer gives God. In the same way that we pray in the Lord’s prayer “Father, let your kingdom come”, the writer here pleads with God to let the whole world finally see his justice and power, destroying evil in the world, destroying corrupt leaders, and bringing us all to a better life of peace and justice. Of course, this is still our prayer today: God let your justice come into our world!
Pastor Stephen Lakkis