So, every week, I think you know this, I choose another psalm in order to use it for the Call to Worship for the first service. Sometimes it is hard to find appropriate words for a call to worship within some of the psalms. This is such a psalm. There are other psalms which are easy and you can choose a whole selection of words from a psalm. But here pretty much the only words you could use for a call to worship are found in vs.6. Can you imagine reading together for a call to worship: “God will scatter the bones of the ungodly”. Not something that is uplifting or which you would want to triumphantly proclaim.
So, in these situations what can we get out of a psalm where the author just seems to be lifting up bad things? Well, sometimes you have just been wronged in life and you just want to say: “They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.” But as we say these words, and this is the challenge, in the midst of our anger or frustration or sadness, it is hard to turn these words on us. It is so much easier to say: some people do this.
How often do we think of “those evildoers” (vs.4) as being us? How often do we take the accusations that we want to hurl at others and turn them to us and ask the question: “Do we do that?” So, before you read this psalm, or maybe go back and read it again, and think of the times that we have said in our hearts: “There is no God”, “We are corrupt”, “We commit abominable acts”, “We do evil”, “We have fallen away”, “We are perverse”, “We have no knowledge”, “We are evildoers”, “We eat up God’s people”.
Today, don’t turn your eyes on someone else or think of someone else as you read this Scripture. Think of those times that we have fallen prey to that which is written in this psalm as a perpetrator of these acts, and not the victim. That makes this psalm a lot more difficult, but so much more valuable.