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Psalm 58, Is Scripture a Mirror or a Window?

Key Verse

The righteous will rejoice when they see vengeance done; they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
— Psalm 58:10

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, September 2, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

American Christians like to believe that since the Bible is God’s Word, it offers a window through which to see what God “wants us to do or be like.” There’s a hint of truth to this. After all, a major theme in scripture deals with morality and how we ought to treat each other. It’s as if we’re on this side looking through the God-commissioned window-of-truth and all we need to do is keep looking through that window to see clearly what God wants.

Much of the Old Testament should be described as a mirror, though. Honestly, this psalm calling for holy vengeance, and like other psalms (see Ps. 137 for a particularly gruesome account) contemplating violence, a person can hardly believe that God really is speaking through these vicious passages. Is God the one to tell us that these things are holy?

I don’t think so.

That’s why I believe that passages like today’s RCL daily devotion are more aptly seen as a a mirror. It’s a mirror to what was going on at the time it was written, and it’s a mirror to humanity’s own thirst for violence and redemption.

In this way, the Bible isn’t so much telling us what to do. Rather, it’s focused on showing us who we really are. Other parts of scripture reinterpret and contextualize; they show us that violence really isn’t an appropriate justification for God’s will.

What do you think? Can God’s Word still be true if it isn’t to be taken literally, but instead as showing us who we really are?


Finish devotion with short prayer written in the first person or a thoughtful question for your readers.


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