Summary: Corruption in high places - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:


Accusation – Lawlessness Practiced (vs 1-5)

Condemnation – Lawlessness Punished (vs 6-8).

Vindication – Righteousness Praised (vs 9-11)



• Victor Hugo, wrote a number of very well-known novels;

• These include, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ & ‘Les Misérables’ (Les- Mis-era).

• One of his lesser known books is called “Ninety-Three.”

• It tells of a ship caught in a dangerous storm on the high seas.

• At the height of the storm,

• The frightened sailors heard a terrible crashing noise below the deck.

• They knew at once that this new noise was made by a cannon which had broken loose.

• It was moving back and forth with the swaying of the ship,

• Crashing into the side of the ship with terrible impact.

• Knowing that it could cause the ship to sink,

• Two brave sailors volunteered to make the dangerous attempt to retie the loose cannon.

• The sailors knew that the greater danger to the ship & crew was not the fury of the storm;

• But rather the danger from within;

• At any moment;

• The loose cannon could burst through the side of the ship and cause it to sink.

• TRANSITION: The biggest danger we all face is the corruption from within!

• It is the terrible depravity within us which can so often overwhelm & threaten us.

• Now because each of us are flawed creatures;

• We ought not to be surprised when we see corrupt behaviour in other people;

• We ought not to be surprised when we corruption in high places;

• If we had not come to faith in Jesus Christ;

• We too might be considered dishonest and crooked, untrustworthy;

• And without the filling and enabling of the Holy Spirit in our lives;

• We could so easily revert back to type – the old nature.


• A dictionary defines corruption as:

• 'to make impure, to make morally unsound, to act dishonestly, to pervert, to bribe'

• And this is can most often be seen through the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.

• According to International Chamber of Commerce;

• ‘Corruption is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world.'

• And according to the World Bank every year US $1 trillion is paid in bribes;

• While an estimated US $2.6 trillion is stolen through corruption;

• Sums equivalent to more than 5% of global Gross National Income (GNI).

• Corruption in high places is nothing new;

• Greed and abuse of power are as old as human history.

• And even though we know this to be the case;

• It is still a wonder why we are shocked or surprised;

• When we hear stories of corruption in government and among our political leaders.

• TRANSITION: In this psalm David is clearly taken aback;

• By the size and scope of political corruption of his day.

Quote: Bible commentator J.J. Stewart Perowne writes:

“This psalm is a bold protest against unrighteous judges. It opens with an indignant expostulation on their deliberate perversion of justice, whilst they pretend to uphold it. It lays bare their character and that of those whom they favour, as men thoroughly, habitually, by their very nature, corrupt. And finally, because they are thus beyond all hope of correction or amendment, it calls upon God to rob them of their power and to bring all their counsels to nought”.

• King Saul is on the throne ruling the nation;

• He has surrounded himself with a group of submissive flatterers who feed his ego;

• And who cater to his foolish whims.

• These officials have authority but they are using it for personal gain;

• And not for the national good.


Psalm 58 is one of a number of psalms we call imprecatory psalms;

• They are psalms where the writer asks God to pour out judgement,

• Calamity, or curses, upon one's enemies or those perceived as the enemies of God.

• The verb “imprecate” means “to pray evil against” or “to invoke curse upon” another,

• Hence the name for these prayers.

• There are quite a few imprecatory psalms;

• The mildest is Psalm 7 and the worst is Psalm 109;

• Commentators have counted at least thirty anathemas in that one psalm alone!


• It might surprise you to know;

• That Jesus actually quoted some of the imprecatory psalms during His earthly ministry.

• In John chapter 15 verse 25, Jesus quoted Psalm 35 verse 19 and Psalm 69 verse 4.


• The apostle Paul as quoted from imprecatory psalms in Romans chapter 11 verses 9-10,

• Which is a quotation from Psalm 69 verses 22-23.

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