Thursday, October 03, 2013

Dangerous People

The psalmist has a strange complaint in Psalm 14:4 (also in Psalm 53:4). It is about those people who don’t pray to God.’ Why should another person’s prayer life bother her? The psalmist’s worry doesn’t seem to be the fact that they don’t pray but the reason why they don’t pray.
The ungodly people don’t pray to God because they don’t take God seriously. These are people who like to pretend that God doesn’t exist at all. That is why the Psalmist says, ‘The fool says in his heart, “There is no God."’ This is not a philosophical theory for them, but they have found it convenient to think that God does’nt exist or is not interested in human affairs. This can be called practical atheism. That means, for all practical purposes they tend to believe that God doesn’t exist.
Practical atheism allows its adherents to do all that is evil and wicked. Acknowledging God’s existence and involvement in human affairs by punishing the guilty and rewarding the righteous is an inconvenient theory for those who want to do evil at their will. Put in another way, this means that by getting God out of your way and from your mind you can do all that you want to do.
The reason why the ungodly doesn’t trust in God in prayer is that they trust other means to get their way. They resort to lying, flattery, bribery and threat. Throughout the Psalms, godly people describe how these have made their lives miserable and pray to God to intervene.
The person who composed Psalm 5 complains about those who have ‘... no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.’ They are dangerous because they lie, and flatter and their lies and flattery has grave consequences to the life of the Psalmist.
If lies and threat won’t get them what they want, they may resort to threat. The enemies of the Psalmist in 73:8 faces threat from ungodly people: ‘They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression.’
The enemies in Psalm 26 are ‘... bloody men; In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes’ (Psa 26:9-10). These people can buy whatever they want by the power of their money. They can pervert justice and oppress people by greasing the hands of those take and overturn decisions.
Since lying, flattery, threat and bribes work for them, they don’t have to depend on the power nor the wisdom of God. So, they don’t pray. People who don’t pray are thus very dangerous because they resort to other means which harm godly people and their societies.
This can be a trap that the godly people can also walk into unaware. False confidence in one’s ability to convince, win the favour of others and sometimes taking threatening postures are ways they may also be tempted to get their way. These result in less and less dependence upon God in prayer. These may take them far away from God and they may end up with all that God hasn’t willled them to have or do. When we don’t have confidence in prayer and have no patience with God we tend resort to these means as well. Dependence on our wisdom and strength is always disproportionate to our dependence on God in prayer!

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