Missiology Through Scripture – Psalm 59:12-13

“For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter, consume them in wrath; consume them till they are no more, that they may know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah.” – Psalm 59:12-13

This psalm is set among the actions of 1 Samuel 19, where David’s wife helps him escape Saul’s persecution by climbing through a window. It is painful unless you love a sovereign and perfect Lord. Some seek their own version of God and look upon this psalm as evidence of a cruel and spiteful god. The disciples of the Lord must love him as he is, not as we want him to be. If you say God is all loving and sovereign, you must look at a verse like this and say, “I may not understand the punishment and justice God dispenses, but I know he is sovereign and I trust him implicitly.” We cannot love part of God, we must love all of him, and in this psalm he punishes the wicked.

The sins of the mouths are greatly heartful. Lies, exaggerations, gossip, slander, and malice are desperately hurtful. They wound the church and harm the saints. Those who sin with their mouth and speak poorly of others are distasteful to the Lord. God desires punishment for those who use their mouths for evil. John Owen said, “Some he will cut off and destroy, some he will terrify and affright, and prevent the rage of all. He can knock them on the head, or break out their teeth, or chain up their wrath; and who can oppose him?”[1] God does not wish liars and gossipers to escape lightly. Those who wickedly use their tongues will receive God’s justice.

Missionaries must not sugarcoat the Scriptures. God wrote in his Word exactly what we are to teach the lost. Do not downplay the wrath of God against sinners. The nations of the earth are to be taught of God’s wrath alongside his mercy and love. Our God is perfect and does not need us to forego the truth to make him seem more palatable.


[1] John Owen, The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 6 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 269.