Anger, Prayer, and the Justice of God
Christians can rightly get angry about evil and injustice:
As a Christian, do you ever get angry? I do. And there is a place for it. Recall that Ephesians 4:26 (quoting Psalm 4:4), says that we can be angry, but it should not become sinful in its expression and duration. So some righteous indignation can well have a place in the life of the believer.
Indeed, anyone reading through the Psalms, as I am now doing again, will see this on display constantly. Godly saints, including the man after God’s own heart – David – all were angry against that which is evil – including evil people. And they told God that explicitly. And forcefully.
In the past 24 hours at least four different things have bothered me greatly, have involved evil people doing evil things, have driven me to prayer – and yes, have gotten me angry. Let me briefly mention each of them, and then look at some Scriptures.
One thing that really gets me upset is when the powers that be can destroy the career of someone just because they are Christians and conservatives. One friend has lost his job and is languishing in no man’s land, all because of these evil PC tyrants. I just chatted with him again last night. This makes my blood boil. You can see his story here: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/03/30/the-big-brother-purge-of-conservative-christians-in-australia/
The next thing that has utterly incensed me – and should outrage every single Victorian – is our hyper-left Premier who is shutting us down again. He did nothing about 10,000 BLM marchers recently, and so a small corona spike has resulted.
So now he is doing even more draconian lockdown measures, and has the gall to blame it, not on himself and his failed leadership, but on families: “It is unacceptable that families anywhere in our state can, just because they want this to be over, pretend that it is.” No, YOU are unacceptable Dan. https://www.theepochtimes.com/vic-premier-blames-families-for-daily-spikes-of-ccp-virus-cases-halts-lifting-restrictions_3395389.html
When I speak of Diabolical Dan Andrews, I am not just using alliteration – I am stating my conviction that this man really is evil, and he has done so many evil things – not least of which his latest corruption scandal. My prayer for him and others like him is: “improve or remove”. Either let him get wondrously converted and repent of his evil ways, or take him out of the picture – remove him from office, or something more permanent.
And two overseas episodes. The idiots (and yes they are idiots) who have taken over a city centre in Seattle have just had their first killing. These fools would not know how to run a candy shop, let alone form their own little Marxist “utopia”. These anarchists and revolutionaries who have taken over the property of others are a joke, and they make me angry every time I hear about them: https://www.foxnews.com/media/seattle-police-union-chief-violence-chop-troubling
Finally, we have what seems to be yet another case of those in the ‘religion of peace’ going around killing innocent people. In the UK folks celebrating the easing of lockdown measures had to deal with a reported Libyan terrorist who stabbed to death three people and wounded another. If this is indeed another Islamic jihad attack, that always makes me angry: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/reading-stabbing-town-centre-latest-priti-patel-a9577526.html
So there is plenty to get upset about – and rightly so. We should be angered by evil and injustice and the loss of innocent life. That should bother us all – greatly. But some squeamish believers might say there is no place for such anger, or such concerns. Well, they may need to start reading through the Psalms.
They are absolutely full of godly people who are angry about injustice and the enemies of God, who are regularly calling out to God for justice, for retribution, and for vindication.
One Psalm that I just read this morning (Psalm 83:1-5) says this:
O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against your treasured ones.
They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
For they conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant…
Indeed, the entire 18 verses of this Psalm are all about pleas to God that he would bring payback, justice and vindication on these enemies. As we read in verses 13-15:
O my God, make them like whirling dust,
like chaff before the wind.
As fire consumes the forest,
as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,
so may you pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your hurricane!
There are just too many Psalms like this to mention here. So let me offer some – as found in the first 50 Psalms. It is hard to read through the Psalter without encountering these repeatedly. They are everywhere. So here is a selection of these sorts of lament and imprecatory Psalms found in just the first third of the Psalter:
Ps 3:7 Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
Psalm 6:8-10 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.
Psalm 7:6 Arise, LORD, in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
Psalm 8:2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
Psalm 9:1-6 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
you have uprooted their cities;
even the memory of them has perished.
Psalm 9:11-12 Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who avenges blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.
Psalm 10:15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
Psalm 13:1-2 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 18:37-43 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the Lord, but he did not answer.
I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
I trampled them like mud in the streets.
You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
Psalm 18:46-48 The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
who rescued me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you delivered me from the man of violence.
Psalm 21:8-12 Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
your right hand will seize your foes.
When you appear for battle,
you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
and his fire will consume them.
You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
their posterity from mankind.
Though they plot evil against you
and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
You will make them turn their backs
when you aim at them with drawn bow.
Psalm 25:2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
Psalm 25:19-20 See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
Psalm 26:1 Vindicate me, Lord,
for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord
and have not faltered.
Psalm 28:4 Give to them according to their work
and according to the evil of their deeds;
give to them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.
Psalm 30:1 I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Psalm 31:14-18 But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.
Let me not be put to shame, Lord,
for I have cried out to you;
but let the wicked be put to shame
and be silent in the realm of the dead.
Let their lying lips be silenced,
for with pride and contempt
they speak arrogantly against the righteous.
Psalm 35:24 Vindicate me, O Lord, my God,
according to your righteousness,
and let them not rejoice over me!
Psalm 43:1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
Psalm 44:7-8 but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.
In God we make our boast all day long,
and we will praise your name forever.
Psalm 45:4-5 In your majesty ride out victoriously
for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!
Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king’s enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
Get the picture? These are found throughout not just the Psalms but throughout Scripture. For more biblical and theological background to such prayers and such godly anger against evil, see these articles:
In sum, there is certainly a place for anger – especially if it is aimed at injustice, and evildoers, and those who hate and mock God and his people, and so on. These prayers asking for vengeance and vindication are all part of the inspired Psalter, which is a collection of hymns sung by the Jews in worship.
So if ancient Israel could use such Psalms as part of corporate prayer and worship, we Christians can do so as well. At the very least, we should be concerned about cases of evil and injustice. Yes, they should make us angry – angry enough to at least pray and cry out to God for vindication and justice.
11 Replies to “Anger, Prayer, and the Justice of God”
Your passion for our mighty God and what matters to Him is infectious, Bill. May He bless you!
Thank you Bill.
The Boko Haram jihadists have certainly been active recently:
To the best of my knowledge, none of those killings have attracted the attention of BLM. Quite telling….
My feelings of anger on the four matters above (and many others!) match your condemnation of these things. The Psalms are expressions of godly anger but they precede Christ. However, it is quite proper for Christians to be angry with sin and express it to God. Revelation 6:10 echoes such sentiments from the martyrs in heaven. God Almighty will vindicate His people but, in the meantime, we should heed Paul’s advice in Ephesians 4:26: Let not the sun go down on your anger. That’s a difficult task when we are faced with so much evil that seems beyond control. Neverthless, the final conclusion of Revelation should uplift us: Jesus wins!
Thanks Guy. Yes, I of course mentioned Eph. 4:26 in my article. And our God does not change, so the same hatred of evil and injustice remains for God’s people, even after the coming of Christ. But I explained all that in some detail in the other articles I linked to in my above piece – especially this one: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/09/05/jesus-justice-and-vindication/
Bravo Bill — another excellent article. Thank you.
Living in Oregon I’m surrounded by liberals. Family members all liberal. Good people but exempt of any outrage at all the evil their godless party is doing. Then also I’m mad at the pastors in America who have no backbone & never speak out against evil. For me it’s cowardly Christians that don’t stand up for anything that’s right. They think being Christian is being silent on all corruption. They remind me of that famous saying, “Those who won’t stand for anything will fall for everything.” or something along those lines. All our famous statues are being torn down & no one is arrested. Even statues of famous people who fought for black rights. But I just need to keep the faith until after our election in November. Many people at the top are going down & there are going to be tribunal executions for the guilty, treason & child sex trafficking. Donald Trump is going to drain the swamp & the world will see. Politicians all the way to the top and high level pastors also. Getmo will be full. And their won’t be any reprieves or sitting on death row for 20 years. Tribunal justice is quick — if what I hear is true.
Thank you Mr Muehlenberg for another inspiring article. I am so grateful we serve a faithful God who cares about each one of us and thankful for your Ministry filled with Godly teaching and wisdom. I just finished reading the newspaper and declared how angry I was about what is happening around the world. I thought I would straight away come to your site for some much needed sanity and Godly wisdom and here is your newest article on anger. I thank you for speaking God’s truth in these difficult times. One of my favourite verses of Scripture is Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Thank you for helping me “to stand”. God Bless you!
The Bible says if we love God, we must hate evil.
Jesus demonstrated righteous anger while He was on earth.
Jesus was angry with the pharisees for their legalism accusing Jesus breaking the Sabbath.
Jesus was angry with the people selling and buying in the temple. The same hands that wash the feet of the disciples, are the same hands that made a whip and drove out the people.
However, when they spat on Him, when they strike Him, when they nailed Him to the cross, He was not angry, but on the contrary, He asked God to forgive them.
Jesus never seek to justice for Himself or defend Himself, but He always defend the weak, the poor, the fatherless, the widowed, and of course, His Father honour.
Many Christians seek their rights, and there are many self rights in this world. Whenever, someone offended them, they get angry and exercise their rights.
But remarkably they are happy to sit back when God’s name is blasphemed or when their fellow Christians being persecuted around the world. Because nothing to do with them so they think!
A black woman dares differ from much of the BLM narrative and faces vile online abuse:
Meanwhile, more censorship:
Great article on BLM Mark.
They still crying over spilled milk.
Every nation has its own dark and painful history what does tearing down statues do?
My nation, Vietnam, suffered under China oppression for 1000 years, then 100 years under the brutality of the French and then endured 20 years of American led civil war and now more suffering under the harsh Viet Cong regime.
People need to let go and to move on.
God is the author of all events. He knows what He’s doing.
Dear Bill you article here, in fact all six of this CultureWatch edition are packed with most uplifting and inspiring thoughts that gave me a jolt out of me depressed feeling. We are dealing with partnership injustices created by my NPD son in law. I know this is public, but I don’t really care if he reads this, which is highly unlikely. He does not read Godly inspiring material. Anyway I was very down in my thoughts, but this piece of your pulled me right out of the doledrums.
The list of inspiring psalms will help me deal with the injustices that befall us this moment in our life. Ian looking forward to the day when all this will become clear to us. It will.