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Sermon #3272

Imprecatory Psalms

A Sermon on Imprecatory Psalms from Romans 11:7-10


Romans 11:7-10 ESV KJV
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” And David says, “Let …

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Sermon Description

Why are there imprecatory Psalms in the Bible? This is the question that Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes up in this sermon on Romans 11:7–10 titled “Psalms.” He says that Scripture never teaches that God creates evil or sin but He does create the consequences of the sinful actions of humans. When Scripture speaks of God visiting judgement upon evil, one should not think that this is God doing something evil but He is punishing the wicked for their evil deeds. The same thing is true in the case of David when he prays for God to judge the wicked. This is not David being vindictive, but rather it is him asking that God act in accordance with His character to protect the righteous and punish the wicked. For God is holy and just; He cannot even look upon evil doers. This is seen in the highest form when Jesus died upon the cross at Calvary. There, God’s justice was fully manifested in His judgement upon sin in Christ but His mercy also was displayed in saving sinners. This is the great truth that God is both the just and the justifier. There is truly no unrighteousness with God.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Israel has not obtained salvation, but the elect have. The rest were blinded.
  2. God gave them a spirit of slumber, eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear.
  3. David said: "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution to them. Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever."
  4. There are four great lessons to learn:
    1. The importance of seeking the Lord and His salvation in the right way.
    2. The matter of judicial blindness. God does not make anyone a sinner but brings out the sinfulness innate in all mankind as a result of the fall.
    3. The question of the imprecatory Psalms. David is speaking judicially about the enemies of God and what they deserve.
    4. The question of punishment and the character of God.
  5. David was not prejudiced or vindictive. He showed patience and lack of vindictiveness toward Saul and Absalom.
  6. The Holy Spirit spoke through David. The scripture cannot be broken.
  7. Jesus accepted the whole Old Testament as divinely inspired.
  8. David was speaking judicially, not personally. He was concerned with what the enemies of God were doing to God, not to himself.
  9. David was speaking prophetically, looking forward to the rejection of Christ, especially by the Jews.
  10. The form of punishment should not trouble us. God gives revelation in thought forms to suit the age. The principles do not change.
  11. Eternal punishment is taught throughout the Bible. The particular form it takes is not the issue.
  12. Jesus himself taught eternal punishment. The epistles and Revelation also teach it.
  13. Calvary shows the wrath of God against sin. Jesus suffered more than the whole universe can ever suffer.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.