“Dear God, please cancel our culture.” A few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have thought to say this; but, God should cancel our culture. The idea behind “cancel culture” is to withdraw support or tolerance of certain people, places, or organizations so that they topple and fall or are left to hang out and dry. God should cancel us in order to put an end to evil that is tolerated in this country. In my first article on “cancel culture,” I surveyed how the wicked try to cancel culture, individuals, and the Church, in order for their evil to prevail via rioting, violence, murder, homosexuality, abortion, and many other unnatural perversions of the flesh. This is what has grown to frustrate, discourage, and even anger us. There is a good deal of comfort for us Christians that, even though the voices of wickedness continue to get louder and louder among us, they are not heard by God and their plans will fail in time. All their plans must inevitably serve the good will of God to save us. Their shouts and railing cannot drown out our prayers to God (Proverbs 15:29). We, dear Christians, are heard by God; our prayers do reach His ears. He has also promised to answer them. As I previously said, rise to arms and with prayer employ you. Pray that God would cancel our culture so that the plans of hate, evil, and wickedness would topple and fall with peace and justice prevailing. “Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot, or they will be exalted” (Psalm 140:8)!
Psalm 140 isn’t among the first psalms chosen by Christians to pray. That’s because it is numbered among the imprecatory psalms. These psalms are praying for God to curse His enemies with His judgement over sin. Some Christians say this is an unloving prayer and, therefore, cannot be prayed by Christians. This is simply bad advice. We need the Lord to put an end to the wicked by canceling our culture. If hearts will not be converted unto the Lord, then their will and way must be suppressed or evil will be exalted. It is leveled that the Christian who prays this has a heart of hate. This is not true. These psalms do not come from a heart of hate, but from a heart that trusts in the God who maintains the cause of the afflicted. God has promised to execute justice for the needy. Should we not believe this with all faith and sincerity? God’s Church simultaneously prays for the conversion of enemies to faith and for their evil plans to be brought to an end. If their hearts are hardened on the path of evil, then we ask for their plans to fail and their poisonous words to overwhelm them, so that they end up dying in the pit of hell that they’ve made for themselves (Psalm 140:9-11). Jesus said to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:43-44). The Christian Church throughout the world must do this, but this does not mean we stop praying for God’s will to be done. Let me explain.
The imprecatory psalms are prayed in line with God’s will. In the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven, we pray for God to cancel our own will and the will of the devil! Luther rightly explains this in the Small Catechism. “How is God’s Will done? “When God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and will which would not let us hallow the name of God nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh; but strengthens and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith unto our end. This is His gracious and good will.” I am reminded of a quote by Walt Kelly, “We’ve met the enemy, and he is us.” Without the power of God to cancel our own will, the devil, and the world, we would be left to die eternally with the devil and his angels. We would despair and be filled with all hopelessness. But it is the will of God to bring to an end the plan of the wicked. So we confidently pray, “Dear God: Cancel our wicked culture. Cancel our perversion of marriage. Cancel our lusts. Cancel our hate for life from womb to grave. Cancel our ingratitude for Your Word. Cancel our sinful flesh. By the precious blood of Christ, His resurrection, and for His sake, dear God: Cancel all our sins. Cancel our temporal and eternal death. Cancel hell and all its horde. Cancel the devil and all his lies. Cancel all those who would not see your name hallowed or let your kingdom come.”
God is doing these things. I know that your eyes see destruction, hate, and wickedness flourishing, same as mine. I know that your ears hear the railing madness of a perverse generation, but there is never so much evil that the will of God cannot be done. There is never so much evil that it cannot be used to the good of our salvation. The triune God is reigning, the devil is defeated, and the will of man is not stronger than the will of God. Even the wicked Pharaoh was raised up so that the will of God would be accomplished. Romans 9 verse 17 says, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’” We really have no reason to be discouraged, as God cancels all that would keep us from Him; He also strengthens and keeps us steadfast in His Word and faith. Even if the mountains should fall into the heart of the sea (Psalm 46:2); still we know that God’s good and gracious will is being done. While men go about canceling our culture for their own purposes, God will bring all their wickedness around for His purpose so that His works are glorified and His name known in all the earth.
God is canceling and hindering the plans of the evil one. If anyone is to be frustrated, it should be the devil. Not you. Not us. “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31-32)? “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me” (Psalm 118:6-7). Can anyone thwart God’s will? Can anyone change His purpose? No, at last we must confess that in time all wickedness will come to an end and the voices of the arrogant will fall silent. Do not be discouraged for there are always more with us than with them.
I’m reminded of the story of triumph when God canceled the plans of the King of Syria. There came a time when Elisha was awakened by his servant to see that he had been surrounded by the King of Syria’s soldiers, chariots, and horses. They wanted Elisha dead since he had been ruining the king’s plans of attack. His servant was deeply discouraged and feared for his life thinking that he was about to die at the end of a sword, but Elisha said to him, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. not even this army could stop the will of God” (2 Kings 6:16-17).
If we could see how many angels are fighting off the legions of demons around us, and if we could see how many attempts of Satan have failed, how many flaming arrows have been extinguished, we’d be overwhelmed with joy. God is canceling more than we know each day. Trust in Him to keep us steadfast in the Word and faith until the end. God has already set an end to all our sorrows, all our afflictions, and even the wickedness of men. All of it has an appointed end. It can only go so far and, even then, it must serve the purposes of God (Romans 8:28). What man means for evil, God will worketh for good (Genesis 50:20). Through God’s Word and Spirit we know that everything is going better than it would be, because God is with us canceling our culture whether that be in us or outside of us. We also know that we truly deserve far worse, but the Holy Spirit is constantly canceling the devil’s attacks so that we are defended against all danger, and guarded and protected from all evil. Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world. “Dear God, give us faith to see that there are more with us than there are with them. Mercifully, bring an end to all injustices and evil pursuits of men. And since we can do no good thing apart from You, grant that all our doings being ordered by Your governance may be righteous in Your sight. And since there is no one who is good among us, grant us by Your mercy the cancelation of all our transgressions for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”