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.
Public Domain KJV text from Wordproject.org
I find this chapter soothing to the soul. I recently listened to stories of injustice, whether it was a person who experienced a home invasion and never had anything returned or even finding the perpetrator, to my own experience as a missionary. We were attacked in our home (but thankfully survived)—yet the person was subsequently let go with a slap on the wrist and no real justice realized. It is easy to be reminded of how unjust the world is that we live in when we witness such glaring moments of injustice.
And yet the chapter concludes with a promise of assurance. God is indeed just and the moral government of God is sure. The injustice experienced in this world will be avenged, in terms of blood, which symbolizes life itself. “Then people will say, ‘Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth” (vs. 11). We may have to wait until Jesus comes, but when He does, justice will be meted out. This is good news about the final judgment and should give us pause for humility that even if justice is not realized right away, God will ultimately set all things right. And until that great day comes, it is all right for us to acknowledge such injustice and plead with God for intervention.
Michael W. Campbell
Director of archives, statistics, and research for the North American Division of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (as of this writing)