How the Psalms Get beyond Anger Management


February 20, 2021

Psalm 43

To the tune of “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” C.M. Sing it at

1 O vindicate and plead my cause,
O God, against the foe;
Come rescue me from wicked men,
a nation vile and low.

2 You are my stronghold and my God;
why do You reject me?
Why must I mourn all day oppressed
by the vile enemy?

3 Send forth Your light and send Your truth,
and let them guide me well.
O let them bring me to Your mount,
the place where You do dwell.

4 Then I’ll go to God’s altar—God,
my joy and my delight;
And I will praise You with the harp,
O God, my God, my light.

5 Why are you so downcast, my soul?
Why so disturbed in me?
Put hope in God—I’ll praise Him yet;
my Savior God is He! 


Jesus instructed us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). This sounds good . . . until I actually have an enemy. Then it’s a pretty big stretch. Song 43 models a more doable strategy. At least it’s a starting place. The singer decides to take the battle not to the throat of the enemy, but to the heart of God.

Though he wrote these words in another context, John Calvin’s words ring true throughout the Psalms: “It is God with whom we have to deal.” Whether our situation is for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, the Psalms always redirect our attention, affections, angst, and emotions to God alone.

Are you facing an irreconcilable injustice somewhere in your life today? Does it seem your enemies are prevailing? Do you need to be vindicated in some situation? Is there a painful chasm in your marriage or a divisive feud in your community? How about an incomprehensible tragedy? In the face of well-intentioned people (often pastors) who console with words like, “God has a reason for this,” or, “God is allowing this to happen for his glory,” today’s song and many more like it teach a different set of rules for divine engagement. And there’s really only one rule: it is God with whom we have to deal.

Don’t hold back. Cry out for vindication. Sing out your angst to God against your enemies. Not only is this a healthy way of dealing with our problems, but it is a holy way. Frankly, it is the only way if we are ever to arrive at a true place of loving our enemies.

It is God with whom we have to deal.

There’s something about singing these words (over time) that takes them to a whole new level. It’s like going from black and white to full Technicolor. Sing this one now.

Ask Yourself. Share with Another.

Do you carry around anger or angst at people or situations? Do you tend to express it to them? Or do you have a lot of angry fantasy conversations with them in your head? If this describes you, chances are you are a passive-aggressive person. What is a better strategy?

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

One Response

  1. “It is God with whom we have to deal.” Whether our situation is for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, the Psalms always redirect our attention, affections, angst, God alone. I have always felt like David when he ask “how do you know, maybe God sent this person.” I know that Satan is the accuser of the brethren, BUT God allows. Does he not tell us to consider it joy, when all these things come against us? Therefore, my response is, what do you want me to learn? Have I done something to cause this? Is there unforgiveness in me? Where have I gave Satan the right to bring his torment? Jesus came to give us an abundant life, it’s up to us to figure out, how that works in our present circumstance.

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