Book ’em, Danno – what bad guys deserve

book-em“Book ’em, Danno!” Famously known as Steve McGarret’s instruction to his sidekick, Danno, after arresting the bad guy at the end of a Hawaii Five-O episode.  After all, bad guys deserve nothing less than having the book thrown at them.


Reading Psalm 28, David seems to feel the same way; bad guys need to have the book thrown at them.  Read what he writes in Psalm 28:4:

Give to them according to their work
and according to the evil of their deeds;
give to them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.

David is asking God to give evil people everything they deserve – judge them by their evil deeds and give them what they got coming.  In other words, “book ’em, God!”

And rightfully so.  Bad guys should have the book thrown at them – they should suffer the consequences of their law-breaking.  David appears like McGarret, standing on the right side of the law, announcing righteous judgement on bad guys.

However, we can’t read verse 4 alone.  Notice that David begins this Psalm with a confession that if God doesn’t listen to his call for help then his fate is the same as the bad people.  Essentially, David is confessing that he is exactly like the evil people in verse 4; he should be booked too.


David’s call is a call for mercy: “God, don’t give me what I deserve!”  He knows he should be dragged off with the wicked.  He knows he should end up in the pit.  Yet, he knows from where his help comes.

And God delivers.  David is saved from the pit.  But his salvation (and yours) doesn’t come from David’s law-keeping.  Instead, David is saved because David’s heart trusts in the the Lord, and he is helped (v.7).

Notice that David says:

  • God is my strength
  • God is my shield
  • God is my refuge
  • God is my Shepherd-Protector

David’s trust is in God’s strength, not in his own strength.

The Christian life is like this.  As we move through this life we are constantly reminded that we too deserve the reward of the wicked.  Moment-by-moment we see that, unlike McGarret, we stand on the wrong side of the law.  But at the same time, we see that our call for mercy has been answered.  We see that instead of having the book thrown at us, the book was thrown at Jesus.  We see that the reward of the wicked was given to Him instead of to us.  Instead of getting what we deserve (death), we are given what we don’t deserve (life with God forever).

So when faced with the reality that we are the bad guys in verse 4, rather than pumping ourselves up with confessions of positivity and strength, we humbly and gratefully confess:

  • I am weak, but You are strong.
  • I am naked and exposed, but You are my shield.
  • I deserve the book, but You are my refuge from the Accuser’s roar*.
  • I was lost forever, but now You are my Good Shepherd forever.


*What though the vile accuser roar 
Of sins that I have done; 
I know them well, and thousands more; 
My God, He knoweth none (from “His be the Victor’s Name”)


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