I’ve been reading a load of Psalms recently after I found out that both N.T. Wright and Tim Keller have read 5 Psalms a day for many, many years which takes them through all 150 each month. (I noticed this comment made by both men in their books The Case for the Psalms by Wright and The Songs of Jesus by Keller.)
Unfortunately, my life is not normal lately, so I end up reading 1 or 2 one day and then try to catch up by reading 8-10 another day.
I have enjoyed the emotions on display as I read and reread the Psalms but occasionally something takes me by surprise. This morning it was Psalm 55 verse 6-7:
The righteous shall see and fear,
and shall laugh at him, saying,
“See the man who would not make
God his refuge,
but trusted in the abundance of his riches
and sought refuge in his own destruction!”
Now I am used to those imprecatory Psalms in which the writer calls for the judgement of God upon his enemies. I understand why some may have a problem with this but I also understand why those who are oppressed will rejoice that God promises justice in the end.
What surprised me is this statement that the righteous will laugh at the downfall of those who trust in riches instead of God.
As I mulled over this, I came to the conclusion that this is a good thing. I’m still not sure about the laughing at those who face judgement but I do think it’s a good that I struggle over this. If the Bible is the written word of God, as I believe it is, then there should be portions of it which should surprise me. There should be parts that are difficult to understand.
Peter even warns us about this in his comments about Paul’s letters:
There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:16)
This challenge for us is not to run for the surprises we find in Scripture. But to embrace the struggle for understanding with faith.
Pray for understanding.
Pray for protection against twisting the words of the Bible.
And continue reading those surprising scriptures!