Even When It Hurts: March 4, 2021

Even When It Hurts -- Lent 2021 Devotional Book

Read: Psalm 109

May his days be few; may another seize his position.
-Psalm 109:8

When I was reading through this Psalm, I was reminded of where I had heard it before that it used to be prayed by some regarding Barack Obama. As early as 2009, verse 8 was mentioned with his name by Republicans hoping that he would be a one-term president. The problem with this is that the next verse speaks of the children of the person becoming orphans and their wife being a widow. As former senator David Perdue of Georgia found out when he caught fire for suggesting people pray the Psalm about Obama in 2016, it is not a good psalm to pray about the President of the United States… even if you don’t happen to like him.

Michelle Obama has spoken in interviews about being afraid of losing her husband or one of her children during the former president’s time in the White House, and I cannot blame her one bit. People took a psalm out of context and applied it to her family. It is an “imprecatory psalm”, meaning that it is one that calls for judgment of the psalmist’s enemies, and it has some pretty heavy implications for those who invoked it regarding the former president.

So, how should we deal with passages like this that are angry to such an extreme? We need to read them as a whole and not parcel out soundbites from them that seemingly meet our needs. Anger is a valid emotion, but it is one where action needs to be tempered to avoid crossing over into sin.

Gracious God, help us to remember that anger is an emotion, not a reason to act. Amen.
-Jen McCabe