Monday, June 8, 2009


I had never heard this word, which apparently means curse, until today. It came from this article:

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is repudiating statements made by a former convention official regarding President Barack Obama and the recent murder of abortionist George Tiller.

On a recent webcast of his daily radio talk show, Wiley Drake, former second vice-president of the SBC, called last Sunday's murder of Tiller "an answer to prayer." Then during an interview with Alan Colmes on Fox News Radio, Drake said he was praying the same type of "imprecatory prayer" against the president of the United States.

For years, Drake has encouraged the practice of praying words of judgment found throughout the Book of Psalm, back to God, against enemies. But Dr. Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, and president of the SBC, says Drake's comments are out of line.

"[That's a] terrible statement, [a] very unbiblical statement," Hunt responds. "I'm still encouraged that the [Book of] Proverbs teaches that God has the water in a channel -- and my prayer has always that God would turn hearts."

Hunt also referenced the Book of 1 Timothy, which encourages Christians to pray for those in authority.

I certainly don't agree in praying for anyone's death. I don't even support the death penalty because I think God can always change hearts and it should be God's decision when our lives are over since he created us. Piper wrote the following about imprecation today, probably in response to Drake's comments:

I have tried to deal faithfully with curses in the Psalms, for example, in a sermon on Psalm 69.

Psalm 83, however, presents a different challenge. At the end there is a strange mixture of supplication and imprecation:

Fill their faces with shame,
that they may seek your name, O Lord.
Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever;
let them perish in disgrace,
that they may know that you alone,
whose name is the Lord,
are the Most High over all the earth.
(Psalm 83:16-18)

Imprecation: The word “forever” in verse 17 is a prayer for utter and eternal defeat: “Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever.”

Supplication: But the phrase, “that they may seek your name, O Lord,” is a prayer for conversion: “Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O Lord.”

It is true, as Kidner points out, that there is “fruitless seeking”. But it would be very strange that the psalmist would be praying for “fruitless seeking.” If that’s the prayer why not just pray that they not seek the Lord?

I think David Dickson is right:

If any of the enemies of God’s people belong to God’s election, the church’s prayer against them giveth way to their conversion, and seeketh no more than that the judgment should follow them, only till they acknowledge their sin, turn, and seek God.... For the rest of the wicked, irreconcilable adversaries, when shame of disappointment and temporal judgments are come upon them, the worst of all yet followeth, even everlasting perdition. (Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 2, 67-68)

A lot to take in there. Will have to spend some more time on all of this.