However wicked people may prosper and bid defiance to divine justice,
they will eventually learn that there is a God who judges in the earth.
Whatever hazard; whatever hardship, the believer may be assured of being an unspeakable gainer in the issue.
1 Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
2 Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth.
3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.
4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;
5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.
6 Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD.
7 Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.
8 As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.
10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.
Psalm 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 58 – There Is a God That Judgeth
This psalm is launched against wicked rulers. It may have been occasioned by the attitude of Abner and others of Saul’s party, who accounted David as a rebel and outlaw and urged vindictive measures against him.
Their sin, Psalm 58:1-6
Poison. Such is the effect of venomous words, into which the malice of the great serpent is infused. Evil men, capable of such speech, resemble the snake tribe, which will respond only to the shrillest notes. Hot speech to man and deaf ears to God go together.
Their doom, Psalm 58:6-9
Let them, Psalm 58:7. Note the remarkable comparisons—the lion’s broken jaw-tooth, the ebbing tide, the snail scorched by intense heat, the untimely birth, the quickly-expiring fire, the cyclone! Sin inevitably brings penalty, and herein is God’s moral government vindicated.
The contrast, Psalm 58:10-11
As the weary traveler is refreshed when his feet are washed, so the saints are glad to see God’s vindication of the righteous. There is a wide difference between the gratification of personal vengeance, and a consuming zeal to uphold God’s character. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 58:11—Verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.
This is one of the imprecatory psalms, and some are seriously disturbed with what seems an unforgiving spirit on the part of the psalmist. We must remember, however, that he was brought up in a severer school than ours. The cliffs of Sinai are sterner than the undulations of the mountain of Beatitudes. He was impressed more by the righteousness and less by the love of God than we are. The true key to the solution of the difficulty which these words suggest is in the words quoted above, which show his zeal for the character of Jehovah.
We must remember that the great conflict of his time was—why the wicked were permitted to flourish. Their success seemed to suggest that God was indifferent to sin. The book of Job is filled with controversy on the same theme: its chapters are filled with reasonings how God could be just, and allow the wicked to prosper, the righteous suffered sore affliction. The psalmist, therefore, pleads that the wicked should be taken away with a whirlwind, that men may be compelled to admit that there is a God that judgeth. Let wicked men be put to shame and punished, then surely men will seek after righteousness because of the immunity it secures and the blessedness it offers.
Yes, child of God, there is a reward for thee. It is not in vain that thou hast washed thy hands in innocency. But it will not come in the coinage of honour of this age, else it would be evanescent and perishable. God is already giving thee of the eternal and divine—peace, joy, blessedness; and one day thou shalt be fully vindicated.
“Perhaps the cup was broken here
That Heaven’s new wine might show more clear.” —Our Daily Homily