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A Christian’s Comfort in the Psalms pt. II

July 19, 2010

ACKNOWLEDGING EVIL

For the Psalmist, evil is ever-present in the world.  Recognizing evil’s presence is key to fighting against its effects and coping with the suffering it engenders.  Much of the Psalm’s express purpose in prescribing action and proclaiming the rightness of Yahweh’s Law is to bless and protect Israel from evil and evil’s being in suffering.[1]

As one reads the Psalms one sees that evil takes different forms.  There is represented within the Psalter the objective conceptual idea of evil; the way in which the righteous should not walk, a place occupied by the wicked, the sinners and the scoffers.  There is also, and more commonly represented, the idea of evil as subjective oppression and suffering.  This subjective suffering, often at the hands of “the ungodly” seems to occur when God is has apparently withdrawn from the situation.[2] The lack of God’s presence, or the lack of His perceived interest, is almost always met with lamentation and cries of distress.  As alluded to earlier, in Psalm 13 David confesses that his enemies are exalted and he is in distress; therefore, David pleads with God to rectify the situation by remembering him and cries out to God to reveal His hidden face.

The acknowledged presence of evil, both objectively and subjectively, stands in stark contrast to the way things should be in light of God’s meticulous creation.  “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”[3] This handiwork is seen in the purposeful formation of the heavens, the seas and trees, all of which He spoke into being[4].  While He displays creation on a cosmic scale, He likewise forms and knits every human being together within their mother’s womb.[5] He formed each eye and each ear; there is no part of creation that does not have the print of His divine design.  He created and called a people; “established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel…”[6] “Christian theology has always regarded God’s creation of the world as an act of love.”[7] Yet despite this act of love there are apparent aberrations present throughout the land; forces which plot and rage in vain against this creator God and His creation.  Evil forces composed of the “ungodly” are pervasive in the Psalter.  Just how pervasive can be displayed by examining two words used throughout the Psalms to describe evil and its ungodly perpetrators.  In the next post of this series we shall examine the first of those words, its use and implications for viewing and using the Psalms.

Click here for Part I of A Christian’s Comfort in the Psalms…


[1]  Evil, for our purposes shall be defined as the malevolent fallen existence which finds its source in the rejection of the creator; its function in opposition through sin; its being in pain and suffering; and its certain dissolution at the hand of Almighty God to and for His glory.

[2] Goldingay, 341.

[3] Psalm 19:1

[4] Psalm 90:2 God formed the earth and the world, and brought forth the mountains. Psalm 95:5, “ The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”

[5] Psalm 139:13, 16. Respectively “you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were write every one of them the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them.”

[6] Psalm 78:5

[7] William A. Dembski. The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. (Nashville, TN B&H Publishing. 2009.) 25.

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2 comments

  1. […] Read Part 2 of A Christian’s Comfort in the Psalms here… […]


  2. […] Part 2: Acknowledging Evil in the Psalms […]



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