Michael Bray

Author of A Time To Kill

Moderate Rejoicing?

CACN, Spring, 1999

I’m confused.  It seems we are supposed to rejoice when the wicked are overcome with death, resulting in relief for the oppressed. Where we read things like, “I have seen the violent, wicked man spreading himself like a luxuriant tree in its native soil.  Then he passed away, and lo, he was no more . . .” (Ps.37:35f)

And “The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance ; He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked” (Ps. 58:10)

Ooh.  I just can’t get my unrighteous mind into that kind of rejoicing.  But the upshot of it is this – all the rivers of innocent blood considered – “Men will say, ‘Surely there is a God who judges the earth” (v. 11).

So, given the fact of unabated shedding of innocent blood carried on by, for example, American abortionists in land lighted abundantly by the very word of God printed in Bibles, spoken on the radio, and uttered from pulpits from sea to shining see¾that is, in a land where ladies and gentlemen who ought to know better¾ a fair-minded fellow might well call into question the existence of a righteous God who would allow such atrocities to continue.

Hence, all the rejoicing when the wicked are judged.

However, I happened upon a text which stimulated me to recall the fact that we must moderate our prayers such that the Lord continues His judgment upon the wicked.

’Tis so! Listen to this from God’s Proverbs: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him” (24:17,18).

Hmm.  How shall we reconcile these ostensibly contradictory theses?

Are we not to understand that it is possible to rejoice inordinately when a baby killer is brought to some state of quiescence?

Yes, we sinners are given to overindulgence in all things.  We whine too much; rejoice too much.  There is a time for each and a proper attitude behind each.

Therefore, while fugacity among abortionists is a rising trend, let us moderate our joy over the termination of these miscreants so that we can rejoice in a godly way.   Thus, says the proverb writer, will these righteous judgments by the God of heaven in the land not be interrupted.

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