Zealous for God: A Defense of the Imprecatory Psalms

Jesus teaches us to pray for our enemies. But the OT psalmist sometimes prays against his enemies. How should we view the imprecatory psalms in relation to Jesus’ teaching in the NT? Do the imprecatory psalms reflect a defective ethic? Are they instances of a vengeful man “praying through” carnal anger? Are the imprecatory psalms of the OT, as C. S. Lewis suggests, simply “devilish”? In the two-part lecture series below, Dr Bob Gonzales attempts to answer these questions and to provide some guidelines for the application of these OT psalms to the NT church.

A Defense of the Imprecatory Psalms, Part 1

A Defense of the Imprecatory Psalms, Part 2


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2 Responses to Zealous for God: A Defense of the Imprecatory Psalms

  1. Keith Throop says:

    I really appreciate your sound and insightful study of the nature of the imprecatory Psalms. I have myself occasionally prayed such prayers from the pulpit when teaching.

    For example, when teaching against abortion, I have prayed that God would grant repentance to those who spend their lives promoting abortion but that, if they are not to repent, then to destroy them and their works in order to protect the unborn. So far as I know, my heart was right in praying this way, and I sought to use the opportunity to help my congregation learn the correct place for imprecatory prayers.

    In my view, it may be that unless and until we can learn to pray such things appropriately, with the right motives and toward the right end, we may not fully understand the heart of God toward sin.

    Thanks again for your help on this matter!


  2. Steve says:

    What an amazing channel of Gods grace to me. I have been so aware recent times that because of hurt and unjustice done to me that I have desired justice above all else. Why I havent prayed for the Lord to destroy those who hurt me and I do often pray for mercy for them, I am been painfully aware that in my hurt and desire for justice I have wanted that above all else. I understand now what Christ meant when He quoted that God desires mercy. Only today, after praying about this, I was allowed to see how much my imaginings of my enemies getting what would be justice, actually bring me so much unrest and kill my peace. The moment I started praying for mercy and blessings for them my peace quickly returned. And now God has spoken to me through this video (I have only watched the first so far). The devil tried everything to stop me watching it, telling me you were simply going to advocate violent prayers. I almost turned it off because I didnt want to see that. And it has been one of the hardest things I have ever watched and has shown me much about my own failings. I know better now what way to go and how to shift my attitude. It is answer to many prayers hating my own sin and wanting to change my vengeful attitude. Thank you.

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