I am blogging this Advent from #decolonizelutheranism’s Advent devotional, Shut Up. (That would be the sanitized version)
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong. (Psalms 125:3 ESV)
“The scepter of wickedness.” Now there’s a phrase.
It evokes a wickedness that rules as a sovereign, sits on a throne, issues commands and orders and will not be opposed. That rules, and not merely reigns, as a unitary executive who will not be denied.
This is a fairly simple psalm, but it speaks to us something of a disturbing and harrowing message — if we do evil, then evil will rule our land.
But is that wrong? Are we so blameless and righteous that we have not earned the rule of this “scepter of wickedness?” Again, Israel’s whole history is an understanding of Israel’s sin — idolatry, cruelty to the poor and weak and strangers, those who have no one to seek vengeance for them if they are wronged. The prophetic cry, and the prophetic promise, is given to a people who are being led away.
Because they, and their ancestors, stretched out their hands and did wrong.
This being led away, however, is not all there is. It is not the final answer. And the “scepter of wickedness,” which rules over the land, will not cast its shadow forever. A day will come when it will be broken.
And we will be redeemed.