Justice: When we read news of people committing great evils, how do we feel? Are we angry when they seem to get away with abuse, discrimination, or murder? If they are brought to justice, do we feel satisfaction?
Psalms: Imprecatory psalms are those that include curses against God’s enemies. Here, in Psalm 69, we read, “Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them.”  We often have problems with such sentiments because they’re hard to reconcile with Jesus’s teaching on loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. Yet the New Testament writers aren’t bashful about such imprecatory psalms. In fact, several of them even reference Psalm 69.
Fulfillment: In his letter to the church in Rome, for example, Paul quotes verse 22: “Let their own table before them become a snare; and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.”  Paul doesn’t condemn David’s words as being driven by personal vengeance. Instead, he sees them as reliable prophetic words of judgment that God brings on his enemies. Likewise, Luke references verse 21 when he writes about the death of Jesus: “Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’ A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” 
Prayer: Lord, You don’t call us to refrain from judging others because there is no judgment, but because we are not judges. You alone are Judge. Yes, you have empowered judges in the land to be your viceroys of justice in your creation, and we pray for them to be full of discernment, wisdom, and courage. Yet we also recognize that you alone have the power to bring ultimate, complete, and perfect justice. For your justice is not only full of righteousness, it is also full of love. On the cross, where we see Jesus citing imprecatory psalms, we also see him saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Our only hope is in your loving justice. Amen.
For a reflection on faith and work from a former Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, see “Sitting on the Bench as a Steward of Justice.”
M’Cheyne Weekend Readings:
 Psalm 69:24 ESV |  Romans 11:9-10 |  John 19:28-30 ESV