Meditating on The Grass that Withers
If you travel around Pittsburgh, you will see a good amount of dry, shriveled grass trying to sprout up in barren places – along the guardrails of the road, through cracks in the sidewalk, on disturbed hillsides. Try to look for such grass this weekend as you walk, bike, or drive. Notice how it looks: withered, choked, fruitless. Each time you see such grass, meditate on the last several verses of Psalm 129. If you have memorized them, try reciting them. Recall that the way of wickedness leads us to wither like this grass. Consider your own heart and the way that your wandering has led to such withering. Contrast it with the vibrant greens that are beginning to come out as fruitful Spring approaches. Ask the Lord to help you be like the tree that does not wither, that bears fruit in season, and not like the grass that withers on the roadsides and sidewalks.
Day 60: Psalm (93 &) 94
Read: Psalm 94
2nd Reading: Psalm 93
“O LORD, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth.”
In the Marvel movie Infinity Wars, the Avengers, superheroes tasked with bringing justice to the world, unite to try and take down the alien warlord, Thanos. But the movie ends with Thanos as the victor, and many of the Avengers die, along with half of the world’s population. The surviving Avengers are left to rue the defeat for the next five years. Though fictional, the human imagination has always longed for characters that can and will bring justice in this world because every generation seen evildoers succeed.
The Bible is clear that God keeps a record of every evildoer and will call them to account. What relief it must be for those whose lives have been destroyed by evil to have Psalm 94 as their song. This psalm is a strong plea to God to judge and even avenge the wicked. “Rise up, O Judge of the earth; repay the proud what they deserve!” This is not hateful revenge; this is a righteous, legal plea that God would put wrongs to right and punish evildoers, whether in this life or in death. The Bible consistently and clearly teaches that God is an avenger who will bring ultimately bring justice, both for the victims and evildoers. The caveat is that we are not permitted to take matters into our own hands; we are to trust that God, who “knows the thoughts of man” (v 11) and “will not reject his people” (v 14), is wise and powerful enough to make all things right.
It is not in our nature to trust that God will repay evildoers for their sins, but that is exactly what Christians are called to do. We don’t know what evil the psalmist faced, but we are to echo his prayer in verse 23: “[God] will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the LORD our God will destroy them.” The New Testament also reminds us: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay.’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19), and, “For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people’” (Hebrews 10:30).
On behalf of all who are suffering from the actions of evildoers today, let us boldly pray this psalm, trusting that God, who is infinitely wise, might avenge the wicked.
City Reformed Presbyterian Church
The 90 Days project is a collaborative effort of many church leaders. Matt Koerber and Daniel Snoke have taken lead roles, with others helping to write daily devotionals.