“O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!”
I was enjoying a beautiful, sunny afternoon, after catching some spectacular waves one-day last year. Absolutely confident that nothing would be able to corrupt my cheerful mood. As I am on many occasions though, I was mistaken. A friendly stranger came wondering by and greeted me with a, “Hello, how are you?”. I instinctively replied, “Howzit going, I am fine, how are you?” My new acquaintance stepped back, a look of sadness came over him. He started questioning me if I was being genuine with him, in my response and reciprocal question. This was all too much for me so I left in a huff. Upon reflection, my happy stranger was right. I did not give him the correct answer, and I did not care at all how he was really doing. I had not been genuine at all to him – I had spoken hollow words.
This experience was to a stranger, whom I have seen maybe once or twice since. In this space of strangers and acquaintances, hollow words may suit the occasion (unless you are traveling in Kalk Bay, Cape Town, and come across the same man as I did). Although it should not make them mandatory. In an intimate relationship, however, hollow words are meaningless, and sometimes even harmful. For in an intimate relationship, each partner is seeking the other to be genuine. For hollow words will divide and cause mask playing.
I am sure that my happy stranger had no intention or knows at all that his little questioning session of my hollow response eventually worked out into my prayer life. As I read through the psalms, the Lord showed made me aware of just how genuine the psalmists were to God. They spoke their mind and heart – especially seen in imprecatory psalms.
The imprecatory psalms are probably one of the roughest parts of the Old Testament. They are vivid and descriptive in their desire for God to destroy their enemies. So much so, that for years they were regarded as outside of Scripture. In some way, though, I praise the Lord that they are in the Bible. Primarily, because it shows us just how genuine we can be to our Lord, Father and King of the Universe.
God desires us to be completely honest with him. In Psalm 58, David gave the people of Israel, who was God’s people, a song to sing when they are confronted with injustice among their own rulers. David, caught up in his reflection did not stay away from or mask how he really felt, for he asked, “O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!”
David prayed what he genuinely felt. This means that if you have it in your heart, pray it. Do not think that God is limited to your words. For he knows the hearts of humanity. If you are doubting God, or angry at something, tell the Lord.
The Lord seeks genuine prayer – prayers that come straight from the heart. That are not fabricated or thought to be holier because of the wording. My happy stranger was able to grasp the necessity of being genuine. David, and the rest of the psalmists, grasped over and over again how they can be truly genuine with the Lord. How genuine are you in your relationship to God, especially in your prayer life?
Prayer: Lord, give me the strength and courage to be completely genuine with you in my prayer life.