The last psalm of the third Nocturn of Matins for Good Friday, Psalm 93 (94), is a warning: the God who died on the Cross for us will return in judgment.
God intervenes in the world
This psalm is a warning to all those who seem to think that God does not actually care about what we do and think. In fact the opposite is true: "The Lord knows the thoughts of men, that they are vain".
The psalm deals with the issue of those who do evil and seem to get away with it.
In particular it focuses on the all too common problem today of those who may believe there is a God, but seem to think he is indifferent to our affairs, or so all-forgiving as to counter our free will choices, and save everyone regardless of what they say, think or do.
The truth, the psalm teaches, is that God does care, does take note. He helps those who seek his aid and accept his guidance. But he is also the 'God of vengeance', the 'judge of the world' who metes out justice.
Though the wicked attacked Our Lord, God held him up:
"In the multitude of the sorrows that I had in my heart, thy comforts have refreshed my soul....They gather them together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my refuge, and my God is the strength of my confidence." (Coverdale)
And in the end, justice will be done:
"He shall recompense them their wickedness, and destroy them in their own malice; yea, the Lord our God shall destroy them."
Deus ultiónum Dóminus: * Deus ultiónum líbere egit.
Exaltáre, qui júdicas terram: * redde retributiónem supérbis.
Usquequo peccatóres, Dómine: * úsquequo peccatóres gloriabúntur:
Effabúntur, et loquéntur iniquitátem: * loquéntur omnes, qui operántur injustítiam?
Pópulum tuum, Dómine humiliavérunt: * et hereditátem tuam vexavérunt.
Víduam et ádvenam interfecérunt: * et pupíllos occidérunt.
Et dixérunt: Non vidébit Dóminus: * nec intélliget Deus Jacob.
Intellígite, insipiéntes in pópulo: * et stulti, aliquándo sápite.
Qui plantávit aurem, non áudiet? * aut qui finxit óculum, non consíderat?
Qui córripit Gentes, non árguet: * qui docet hóminem sciéntiam?
Dóminus scit cogitatiónes hóminum, * quóniam vanæ sunt.
Beátus homo, quem tu erudíeris, Dómine, * et de lege tua docúeris eum.
Ut mítiges ei a diébus malis: * donec fodiátur peccatóri fóvea.
Quia non repéllet Dóminus plebem suam: * et hereditátem suam non derelínquet.
Quoadúsque justítia convertátur in judícium: * et qui juxta illam omnes qui recto sunt corde.
Quis consúrget mihi advérsus malignántes? * aut quis stabit mecum advérsus operántes iniquitátem?
Nisi quia Dóminus adjúvit me: * paulo minus habitásset in inférno ánima mea.
Si dicébam: Motus est pes meus: * misericórdia tua, Dómine, adjuvábat me.
Secúndum multitúdinem dolórum meórum in corde meo: * consolatiónes tuæ lætificavérunt ánimam meam.
Numquid adhæret tibi sedes iniquitátis: * qui fingis labórem in præcépto?
Captábunt in ánimam justi: * et sánguinem innocéntem condemnábunt.
Et factus est mihi Dóminus in refúgium: * et Deus meus in adjutórium spei meæ.
Et reddet illis iniquitátem ipsórum: et in malítia eórum dispérdet eos: * dispérdet illos Dóminus Deus noster.
And the English:
The Lord is the God to whom revenge belongs: the God of revenge has acted freely.
Lift up yourself, you that judge the earth: render a reward to the proud.
How long shall sinners, O Lord: how long shall sinners glory?
Shall they utter, and speak iniquity: shall all speak who work injustice?
Your people, O Lord, they have brought low: and they have afflicted your inheritance.
They have slain the widow and the stranger: and they have murdered the fatherless.
And they have said: The Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob understand.
Understand, you senseless among the people: and, you fools, be wise at last.
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? Or he that formed the eye, does he not consider?
He that chastises nations, shall he not rebuke: he that teaches man knowledge?
The Lord knows the thoughts of men, that they are vain.
Blessed is the man whom you shall instruct, O Lord: and shall teach him out of your law.
That you may give him rest from the evil days: till a pit be dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not cast off his people: neither will he forsake his own inheritance.
Until justice be turned into judgment: and they that are near it are all the upright in heart.
Who shall rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who shall stand with me against the workers of iniquity?
Unless the Lord had been my helper, my soul had almost dwelt in hell.
If I said: My foot is moved: your mercy, O Lord, assisted me.
According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, your comforts have given joy to my soul.
Does the seat of iniquity stick to you, who frames labour in commandment?
They will hunt after the soul of the just, and will condemn innocent blood.
But the Lord is my refuge: and my God the help of my hope.
And he will render them their iniquity: and in their malice he will destroy them: the Lord our God will destroy them.
Tenebrae of Good Friday
Nocturn I: Psalms 2, 21, 26
Nocturn II: Psalms 37, 39, 53*
Nocturn III: Psalms 58, 87*, 93
Lauds: 50*, 142, 84, [Hab], 147
And you can find the next part of this series here.
And you can find the next part of this series here.