Don’t ask God to be your hit man

God gets petitions. Lots and lots of petitions. For cures and directions; hope and help. And once in a while comes the request to be a hit man.

God gets petitions. Lots and lots of petitions. For cures and directions; hope and help.

And once in a while comes the request to be a hit man.

God, zap the enemy. It’s an ancient plea, an imprecatory prayer, a plea for someone else’s misfortune.

David prayed it. David called upon his God to kill the enemy; Psalm 25 begins: “Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me; Fight against those who fight against me.” Other imprecatory psalms have curses or prayers for death to one’s foes.

Baptist Minister and former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wiley Drake offers imprecatory prayer for the death of U.S. President Obama.

On June 2, on Fox News Radio, Drake said of Barack Obama, “If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death.”

Pastor Drake has also called for death-dealing prayers against a religious watchdog.

How does this harsh rhetoric square with the Jesus who called for love for the enemy? It’s not a case of Old Testament cursing versus New Testament loving.

Proverbs 24:17 says, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.” St. Paul, who wrote some fine New Testament letters, also wrote “If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him.î”(1 Corinthians 16:22) Paul may have been a saint but this is embarrassingly close to the Islamic call for death to the infidel.

Neither is it a dose of hyperbole or the momentary ranting of a wronged believer. The psalms were carefully crafted poems put to music for worship.

Some make the case that wrathful intercession is simply asking God to do what God said he would do: protect the righteous. The danger here is in our assumption that since we’re so righteous, God is always on our side.

As the football team bends the knee for a little pre-game intercession, if the request is for victory, then God would have to orchestrate the agony of defeat for a team of perhaps equally devout, earnest players — and prayers.

Anyone who doesn’t believe what we believe and the way we believe it must be God’s enemy and in line for some serious smiting, if not a death sentence.

Yet surely if God is a just God and capable of smiting bad people, for good reason we trust, then the smiting should be left up to the Supreme Judge without conflicting petitions from us.

Evil needs to be resisted, and rage is sometimes appropriate. But imprecatory prayer is a curse on someone else. Jesus never taught anyone to pray a curse. He taught the exact opposite.

In his anger he warned the Pharisees the path their hypocrisy was taking them down, but never called down vengeful fire on them. Allegedly, Jesus could have commanded the hosts of heaven to smite the thugs who wanted to do him in.

He didn’t.

Neither should we.

Bob Ripley is Senior Minister of Metropolitan United Church, in London, Ont.

Just Posted

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

VIDEO: Central Albertans learn about Icelandic poet at Stephansson House

Harvest Fair and Quilt Show hosted at Stephansson House in Spruce View Sunday

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Wildfire moves closer to Glacier National Park’s scenic road

MISSOULA, Mont. — A wildfire in Montana’s Glacier National Park is forcing… Continue reading

Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Couillard march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month