Praying the Psalms: Psalm 14

How can there be so many atheists? As we look at the world around us secularism is on the rise. More and more people in our country are stating they have no religious affiliation.  Unbelief is on the rise. Yet, even those who claim no religious affiliation act and live as if there is no God—including, sadly, many professed Christians. They go about their life following desires of their own flesh, unaware that God is ruling and watching. How should we pray when there are so many people who just flat out deny the existence of God? How should we pray when there are so many whose lives are lived in practical denial of God's existence? This particular Psalm of lament by David expresses the frustration and prayers of a man who lives in such a world. IMG_0500

Commentary

v. 1-4 - The psalm instructs that the fool says in his heart that there is no God. The word fool here does not indicate that people who are atheists are dumb. Some of the brightest minds in our world today are atheists. So what does it mean that those who deny the existence of God are fools? The foolishness described here is not simply intellectual but moral. Many stubbornly reject what has God has revealed. Whether we are a committed atheist or not, everyone of us has lived our lives in our own way. Even though we may believe that there is a God, we have not lived our lives consistently in light of that truth.

So many people live there lives today as if there is no God. We make ourselves God. The chief purpose of our life is self-fulfillment and self-actualization. As a result we ignore what is right and true as we give ourselves over to the corrupt.  As we look upon the human race we can conclude like David that there is no one who does good.

As v. 2 begins, we see the Lord searching the earth for any human being that has understanding and for any human being who seeks after God.  The conclusion of the Lord's search is bleak, but vital for us to understand. Every human being has turned aside. Every human being is corrupt.  There is none who are good, not even one.

This grim picture of humanity is hard for us to accept. Many believe that human being are inherently good and that there is nothing wrong with us. Sure, there might be a few bad people out there, but most of humanity are good people. Yes, there is a lot of goodness in humanity because we have been created in God's image, but at our core we are condemned sinners. Sin has so corrupted us that there remains no aspect of our lives untainted. We are totally depraved and sinners by nature. This is the huge problem of humanity: we are truth suppressers and truth deniers.

The apostle Paul would use this Psalm as evidence of humanities innate sinfulness. In his great letter to the Romans, he begins his book explaining the sinfulness of humanity and the just judgement and wrath they deserve from God. Referring to this Psalm, Paul in Romans 3:10-11 would lay out his conclusion, "that there is no one righteous, no not one".  Both Jews and Greeks stand condemned before God. We have all gone our own way and we have rebelled against God.  Every facet of who we are as human beings have been corrupted by sin. Even though we may never confess to be an atheists, every human being has lived as one.

The sinfulness of humanity is the reason for the oppression and evil seen all across the world. Those that have no knowledge of God "eat up my people as they eat bread.” Human beings are vicious and vile. Any illusion we have of the goodness of humanity is shattered if we just walk through the history of humanity. From the moral horrors of racism and slavery that has dominated much of American history, to the horrific holocaust executed by the genocidal Adolf Hitler, to the gruesome beheadings recorded on video by ISIS—the evidence of humanities sinfulness is all around us. Humanity devours one another up like they are eating bread.

v. 5-6 - The psalmist  reminds himself that the Lord is the refuge for the poor and the oppressed. Even though humanity seems to be content on devouring itself, God aligns himself with the victims. God will protect those who are abused by wicked and evil men.

v. 7 - The psalm concludes with a call for salvation and for restoration of the people of God.  David prays for a national renewal and restoration, but, in light of the New Covenant, we see just how God has brought about a greater salvation through the Lord Jesus.  God in his grace makes a way not just to save the oppressed, but also the fools who deny God's existence in word and action.

Though there is none who seek God and there are none who do what is good, God provides a righteousness for us. Though the beginning of Romans 3 begins with the conclusion there is none who are righteous and that all human beings deserve God's just wrath, the end of Romans 3 ends with incredible hope.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 3:21–24, ESV)

This is seriously good news. Though we are not righteous, God has provide a righteousness apart from perfect obedience to the Law of God. God gives us his righteousness through the person of Jesus Christ. We receive it by faith in Jesus and we receive it by grace as a gift from God. Though we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory, we are justified by God's grace through Jesus' redemption. Through the death of Christ our penalty is paid for and Jesus gives us his perfect and blameless righteousness. Jesus takes on our filthy garment of sin and gives us his pure and blameless robe of righteousness. What incredible news!

God's grace overcomes not only our own sin, but also our unbelief. Though every human being lives as a fool, denying the existence of God, God by his sovereign grace overcomes even the hardest heart and grants them knowledge of himself. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:6, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." From this verse we can conclude that the only way God allows us to grasp his Gospel of grace is if the Spirit gives us understanding of this Gospel.

Here is the really good news about the salvation God gives us. He not only provides us with the righteousness of Christ, but he also sovereignly gives us faith. Though we all are fools, God by his grace gives us wisdom to understand his glorious Gospel so that we can believe in him for salvation.

As we think about this Psalm of David, we see so much of it pointing to greater new covenant realities. Though every human being is totally depraved and though no human being seeks after God, there is a God who overcomes our depravity and who seeks us out. God takes the initiative and comes and brings his salvation to us. The salvation that we long for comes out of Zion, the very presence of God himself. In light of this great sovereign love as we can do is rejoice and be glad.

Prayer Guide

  • Lament in prayer over the wickedness and evil you see in the world.
  • Confess your own sin that you too have lived as one who denies the existence of God.
  • Thank the Lord that he identifies with the oppressed.
  • Praise the Lord that he provides you righteousness through Jesus by faith.
  • Thank the Lord that he not only gave you his righteousness, but gave you the ability understand and believe in Him.

Praying the Psalms: Psalm 13

Forgotten. We all have moments when we feel like God has abandoned us. Each of us will face dark days, when it seems like the present sufferings are unceasing. We take one punch after another and we long to collapse. Psalm 13 is a classic example of a psalm of lament. Psalms of lament are all over the psalter. Lament simply means complaint. The idea of lament can sound very uncomfortable to Christians today, because it can appear like a lack of faith and trust in God. In so many ways when crisis hits, we feel the pressure to put on plastic smiles and act like everything is ok. Is complaining against the Lord and expressing frustration appropriate for people of faith? Is there any room for lament in the Christian life? As we examine Psalm 13, I think we will discover the answer. IMG_0500

Commentary

v. 1-2 - The psalm begins with questions. Each question begins with the phrase "How long?” The question itself is not one necessarily looking for an informative answer, but David is expressing his anguish and feelings. David is laying his soul bare before God. He feels forgotten and that God has hid his face. He is in sorrow as his enemies exalt over him.

David's prayer is both bold and refreshing. Often we think that God is unable to handle our emotions, our grieving, and our sadness. David's prayer breathes true authenticity into our plastic and superficial Christianity. Yet, David expresses in these pounding questions his feelings of abandonment at God's apparent indifference to his circumstances. There are situations that we face that lead us to ask questions just like David. When our spouse continues to battle cancer for years we pray, "How long, O LORD?" When we experience the heartbreak of a wayward child rejecting Christ we weep, "How long, O LORD?" When we are laid off from our job and the bills are piling up we cry, "How long, O LORD?" When we stand over the casket of our child through the sorrow we whisper, "How long, O LORD?"

This broken world is filled with hardship and sorrows. In times of great sadness we can feel that the Lord is not near or that maybe he has forgotten. We feel abandoned and isolated as we are paralyzed by depression and anxiety. When we feel this way should we just ignore it? When we walk into the church should we hide our sorrow with a insincere glibness? I suggest not. Rather, we should follow the pattern that David lays out for us in this psalm. We should get on our needs and express our heartache and brokenness before the Lord. God knows how we are thinking and feeling better than we know ourselves. There is no emotion you can express to him in words that he does not already know.

As we will see in this Psalm, the expression of lament leads to healing, comfort, and ultimately worship. When we burry our emotions in a sea of fabricated pretense, we do not allow the Almighty to restore us with his presence. Like David we must go before God in prayer. It is often through prayer that God teaches us in his presence and renews us. When we hide our emotions and frustrations with God we rob ourselves of healing and God of his glory as he moves us from lament to praise.

v. 3-4 - David begins making petitions towards God. He asks the Lord for his attention, to consider him and answer him. He is asking the Lord to intervene in his depression. He feels so low he could die. He begs the Lord to lift up his eyes  and to help him in his moment of desperation. He prays for deliverance from his enemies which are causing him to be shaken with fear.

Through the ocean of emotions David is experiencing, he begins to ask God for help. Simply coming to God in lament is a sign of great faith. David is not lamenting to grumble in superiority towards God, rather he is lamenting because he is so dependent on God. His attitude is not disrespectful towards God, but he is incredibly honest with his thoughts and feelings. David in asking the Lord to address his depression is already beginning the process of healing. In that simple act of asking God for help, David is admitting that he is insufficient for this pit he has found himself. His prayer in these verses is an expression of trust in the God who can help him and deliver him.

v. 5-6 - As David is lamenting, and as he comes to God in prayer something begins to happen. As David lays himself bare  before the presence of God in prayer, God doesn't change David's circumstances, but he does change David. As we look at the final two verses the tone is remarkably different from the repetitious "How longs" in which this Psalm began. David in the presence of God is filled with resolve and confidence as he is renewed by God.

Now, instead of doubting God's presence in his life, David has turned to trust. His heart is no longer filled with sorrow, but now his heart is rejoicing in God's salvation. He has moved from complaint to praise. What explains this change? Well here we see the pattern of lament as laid on the Scripture. Biblical lament has a flow to it. Lament moves from complaint to praise. The process of lament changes the lamenter. As a man or woman comes before God in anxiety, that simple act of faith begins to change the person. It is not always immediate or even within the same day. Sometimes this process may be stretched for weeks or months, but when we go to the presence of God in our trouble, our sorrow will turn to joy.  Though our circumstances may not change, our rigorous prayer expresses a dependence on God in which God gives us a joyful contentment regardless of our present circumstances. In a similar way the apostle Paul in Philippians says something similar when writes, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil 4:6-7)

This is key for us to understand the Christian life. When we bring our anxiety to the Lord in prayer, that simple act of trust changes us as we express dependence on a God who knows all and is able to help. Even though the cancer may not go away and though our child remains in the casket, God by grace gives us a peace and a joyful contentment even in the pain.  As David says, he rejoices because God has dealt bountifully with me. Certainly God has dealt bountifully with every Christian. For in Christ, we have been given salvation from sin and death and are promised victory when he returns. The inheritance and glory waiting for us when we cross from life to death far outweighs our present sufferings, no matter how great they may be. As Paul writes, "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Cor 4:17).

Though God doesn't always promise us answers to our questions and though he may be silent on how long we must endure our present sorrow, we can trust that in our lamenting God gives us a supernatural trust to those who come before him in tears. And though we may cry out in our agony, "How long, O LORD?", we must remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, "Behold I am coming soon." (Rev 22:7)

Prayer Guide

  • What emotions and frustrations are you having with the Lord? Express them to him.
  • Ask the Lord to help you in your situation and to help you find trust in him through our sorrow.
  • Ask the Lord to give you joy and peace in light of the Gospel promises he has given you.

Praying the Psalms: Psalm 12

How do we pray when our leaders have forked tongues and a crooked smile? Politicians have a reputation for saying anything to get a vote. They make grandiose promises and they will tickle ears to appease a group only to say the opposite behind close doors. News anchors embellish and speak half truths when reporting a story. Business leaders cook the books or hide assets in illegal tax shelters. As we look at the world today, honesty seems to be missing and truth telling is absent. It is hard to know who is speaking truth and who is speaking lies. And so we come to that opening question, how do we pray when our leaders have forked tongues and a crooked smile? This is exactly the question David, the psalmist, seeks to answer in Psalm 12. Liars seem to be everywhere and his lament leads him to unshakeable trust in the truthful purity of the words of God.

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Commentary

v. 1–2 - The situation of David’s lament is laid out in these first two verses. The urgent plea is found in the first word, “Save.” The godly seem to be absent and gone. The ones who are faithful to God seem to have vanished among men. Everyone left utters lies with flapping lips and a deceitful heart. Everyone, particularly the nation’s leadership, seems to be intent on deceit. You can’t trust anyone and evil motivations seems to be hiding behind words of flattery. Truth telling and truth speaking is absent from the culture, and lies and deceit lurk publicly in the open square.

As we look at the world in which we live, it is amazing how humanity has not changed since David’s day. Through sound bites and new clips, tweets and status updates there are hay stacks of falsehood we must sort through to find the needle of truth. Everywhere around us their is falsehood. There are grand and extravagant promises made by a company if you would only buy their product. There are models that are “photshoped” to look a certain way. There are politicians that dodge questions to avoid speaking truthfully. The media spins every story they get to support their own agenda. Just as it was for David, falsehood surrounds us and the godly people who speak truth are absent.

v. 3–4 - David then begins to pray that God would remove the wicked people who are defined by their flattering lips. David prays that God would take these people and would remove the source of their great confidence——their deceitful tongues. There is a certain amount of arrogance that comes with being a perpetual liar. Their is a prideful self-confidence in their own ability to spin truth to their own advantage and to hide truth by covering it with lies. Those who practice such falsehood conclude, “Who is master over us?” Those who practice such habitual trickery and deception think they will never get caught. There is an idolatrous self-centeredness at the heart of every false word bent on its on self-preservation and self-exaltation. David’s prayer is that these liars would be exposed for who they are and that God would remove their very tongues if necessary.

v. 5–6 - The situation seems bleak. The poor are plundered and the needy groan. Yet, there is hope. David knows that the Lord will arise. He will take those oppressed by the lying snakes and bring them into his own safety. God is against the liars and will stand up against them in opposition. Though they seem like they have no master, the Lord will one day put them in their place. David recognizes that the Lord is the complete opposite from these forked tongue leaders.

David states that “the word of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times”. The Lord always speaks truth. He doesn’t not conceal truth in falsehood or disguise truth through vain flattery. His words are pure just like silver that has been purified through a furnace seven times. The word of the Lord is without blemish, spot, or corruption. Though we may live in the world’s web of lies, God’s word is reliably true. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). As a result we can trust that his word is true. This is why the Scriptures are reliable and true. If the Bible was given to us by God as he inspired human authors to write his word, we know that all of the Scriptures must be true. It is not corrupted silver where we have to refine through the furnace of hyper-criticalism to discern which part of the Bible is true and which is false. Rather, because God is truth and does not lie, his word cannot have falsehood in it. The reason the Bible is reliable in speaking truth is because God himself is truth. His word is pure.

This can provide great hope as we live in such a sly and fraudulent world. As we interact with our fellow men and women we wonder, who can we trust and who is reliable? Who will love me enough to speak truthfully and not flatter me for their own selfish gain? Whose word is reliable? The answer to these questions is God himself. David recognizes this. Though everyone around him has flattering lips, he trusts and places his hope in the Lord whose words are pure. As we look at the confusion today and the falsehood that surrounds us, we too can trust in the purity and truthfulness of the word of God.

Not only has God spoken his word, but he sent his word into the world. “The word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). Jesus Christ is the word of God made flesh. In Jesus is truth and in him is purity. Jesus’ coming is the arising of God from his throne and Jesus is the safety for the poor and needy. There is refuge and comfort in truth, and that truth is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the Gospel message of God’s redemption of sinners and through the atoning death of Jesus, those who are oppressed by liars can be protected in the safety of the gifted purity of Jesus.

v. 7–8 - The Psalm moves from lament to praise. David concludes that even though wicked may be on every side and though falsehood and vileness may be on the prowl against men, the Lord will keep us. He will guard us from the fork-tongue men and women all around us.

In JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, there is a deceitful man speaking lies to the Théodon of Rohan named Grima. The people called him Wormtongue. He whispered lies into the ear of the king. He was a master of deceit and used his flattering lips to manipulate Théodon, the ruler of the people of Rohan. The white wizard Gandalf who passed through from death to life in his fight against the Balrog comes before Wormtongue and says,

The wise speak only of what they know, Gríma son of Gálmód. A witless worm have you become. Therefore be silent, and keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death to bandy crooked words with a serving-man till the lightning falls.

As we think about Jesus, the author of truth, I’m sure Jesus will say something very similar to the legion of liars that lead our world today. These witless worms will be made silent. For the Lord Jesus Christ did not pass from death and life to listen to their crooked words. One day Christ will return and the lightening will fall and the forked tongues will be cut from the mouth’s of liars and truth will rule again.

Prayer Guide

  • Present your concerns to the Lord concerning liars who are in authority.
  • Ask the Lord to remove the corrupt from power and leadership.
  • Thank God for the reliability and purity of his word as truth.
  • Thank God for protecting the weak through Jesus, the word of God incarnate.
  • Ask God to help you trust in him and in his promised victory that will come when Christ returns.

Praying the Psalms: Psalm 11

The Psalms are not just songs, but prayers. By studying the Psalms we can learn how to better pray and engage in communion with God. Each Thursday I’ll be posting a commentary and prayer guide for the Psalms to help us learn and practice prayer. There are moments in our lives that feel like total chaos. The world seems to be spinning and we seem to be sinking in a whirlpool of hostility. It is in these moments, to which Psalm 11 speaks. This Psalm of David is a meditation in which David is preaching to his own soul in his moment of crises. David reminds himself that God is trustworthy and still on his throne though his life seems so out of control. There is great wisdom in learning to preach to ones wandering heart, and this psalm is an example of David reminding his own soul of God’s power and stability though David feels weak and unstable.

Commentary

v 1–3 - The first stanza of the Psalm describes the perils of David’s crises. He begins in verse one telling himself to take refuge in the Lord. The idea of the Lord being a refuge is a reoccurring theme throughout the psalter. God is a safe house and a shelter in the chaos. He is a safe place and a protection. Though God is a refuge, it is easy for even the faithful to doubt in that divine protective shelter. Sometimes the wind whirls so powerfully, the hail so large, or the monsoon to thick, that we begin to doubt if God protection and refuge will really survive the destructive weather of chaos. David knows his own heart is prone to run away and flee rather than trust in God as shelter. He speaks to his own soul asking what’s the point in such hopelessness. Why flee like a bird to the mountain when the wicked are fitting an arrow directed towards the upright in heart? Though the very foundation of worldly security seem to be destroyed, it is not appropriate to hopelessly declare “What can the righteous do?”

Davids soul is doubting God’s ability to be his refuge. He is despondent heart and trusting in the Lord seems to impractical compared to the whirling tempest of evil that surrounds him. We too can be so very discouraged from taking refuge in God. As we witness the pandemonium and lawlessness that makes up our present age, it is easy for us to think that trusting in God will do us little good. When our souls feel to be in disarray, it is to easy to doubt God’s goodness or his power. Yet, it is in those moments that we need to speak truth to our broken hearts and encourage them with the truth. Though we may be paralyzed by the trouble of the moment we must turn our attention to the truth. This is exactly what David does.

v. 4–7 - This second stanza is David’s mini-sermon to his own heart, reminding himself of God’s character and power. Even though the wicked have David in their cross-hairs, “The LORD is in his holy temple”. God is in his throne and he is ruling and aware of all that is happening. His eyes see. Though God may feel distant or absent from our present trauma, he is very well aware. Yet, he is not only aware but he is on his throne in heaven ruling. God wields complete sovereignty over all that happens. Nothing happens without his ruling hand allowing it to happen. Whatever evil may befall in this life, nothing happens without his sovereign hand allowing it to happen. Though God does not perform evil, it is his sovereign wisdom that allows such things to happen, even to his saints.

Why does God permit such evil to happen, especially to his children? Well David reminds himself that often God permits trails in order to “test the children of man”. God in his goodness often tests the faithfulness of the righteous. This is why James could say, “Count it all, my brothers, when you meet trails of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (Jm 1:2–3). For the people of God is is a joyous thing to encounter such trails, because through this testing God is sanctifying us and conforming us ever to his image. David’s life is an example here in Psalm 11. This moment of crises, whatever it may be, is forcing him to trust the Lord as his refuge. This trial is growing him but making him more dependent on God. God allows evil things to befall his children, because those evil acts are used by God for his children’s good. The wonderfully wise providence of God uses what others meant for evil to shape his people for their good. We see a specific example of this in the life of Joseph in Genesis.

When it comes to the wicked, God hates the one who loves violence. Those who practice such evil, God is in direct opposition to them. Though God may use the evil of this world and use it for the good of his people, this does not mean that God is pleased by or condones the actions of the wicked. Rather, the sovereign Lord who sits on his throne will bring them to account for their actions. Those who viciously set their eyes on destroying the covenant people of God will face the stern and just anger of the one who sits on his throne in heaven. David understands this and affirms that God will one day rain coals on the wicked. “Fire and sulfur and scorching will shall be the portion of their cup”. This is a direct allusion to the terrible fate of Sodom and Gomorra in which God brought down his stern and ferocious wrath on those cities. In our present moments of crises we must remind ourselves that the wicked who seek our harm will one day receive their due. Though God may not execute his justice immediately in our present circumstances, one day the wicked will receive the portion of their cup.

The final verse affirms that the Lord is on the side of the righteous. He loves those who love him and obey him. Those who are pure in heart will see God. The upright will behold his face in glorious splendor. As we think about this Psalm in the context of the whole canon of Scripture, we are thankful that it is Jesus alone who purchases for us this privilege. God in his incredible mercy used the death of Christ to make us righteous. Though we are all sinners and though we deserve the fire of sulfur upon our heads, Jesus took our cup upon himself. God poured out the cup of his wrath upon his son Jesus on the cross. By grace, God overs us the righteousness of his son Jesus. As we trust in the crucified and resurrected Christ, we have the glorious promise that we too will one day see him face to face. Through Christ we know God and come into a relationship with God. This is the glorious good news of the Gospel.

The message of this psalm is clear enough. When our wandering hearts begin to doubt God’s goodness and power, we must remind ourselves that he is a trustworthy refuge. God is on his throne. He opposes the wicked and will protect the cause of the righteous. When our hearts in desperation say, “What can the righteous do?”, we know the answer. Take refuge in the Lord, because the Lord is in his holy temple.

Prayer Guide

  • What is your crises moment? Share that with the Lord
  • Confess thoughts that demonstrate a lack of trust in God
  • Praise the Lord that he is in control and able to use the evil against you for your good.
  • Thank the Lord that he is on the side of the righteous, and through Christ has made you righteous.
  • Ask God to help you trust in him as your refuge.

Praying the Psalms: Psalm 10

The Psalms are not just songs, but prayers. By studying the Psalms we can learn how to better pray and engage in communion with God. Each Thursday I’ll be posting a commentary and prayer guide for the Psalms to help us learn and practice prayer. Psalm 10 is a continuation of Psalm 9. The two are connected thematically. The two also share an acrostic patter in the writing that continues into Psalm 10. In addition, their is no subscription to Psalm 10, indicating it is a continuation from the previous psalm. Psalm 10 is largely focused one big question. Why does God allow the wicked to prosper and get away with it? It is a perplexing question that even the most devoted Christians wrestle with in understanding God. Indeed, we can’t fully understand. Psalm 10 is a humble inquiry into the mind and will of God that culminates in an unshakeable faith in the goodness and justice of God.

Commentary

v. 1–11 - The Psalm begins with a question. “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?” If we are honest, in the present sufferings we face and in the wickedness of this world, it seems like God is absent. From the tyranny of Islamic terrorism to the rape and murder that floods the news or to the men and women who prosper in wealth by taking advantage of the weak, we cry out, “Where are you God?” The psalmist is wrestling with the same question that we wrestle with today. If God is completely in control and perfectly good, why does he allow evil to continue?

The psalmist spends the first half of this psalm describing the wicked who prosper. They take advantage of the poor. They are greedy in their lusts. They are proud and resist and reject the Lord. These wicked people openly mock the Lord stating “There is no God”. Yet, at least in the present, the wicked seem to continue to prosper at all times. Their unrestrained evil seems to continue with God not lifting a finger to do anything to put a stop to it. God’s judgments seem high and out of sight. The wicked perform such evil knowing that they will get away with it. They say in such proud self confidence, “I shall not be moved”.

The description against the wicked continues. They are filled with mischief and deceit. They ambush villages and murder anyone in their way. Like a lion on the prowl he keeps his eye always open for the weak, the runt, and the helpless to devour. The poor are drawn into a net for their own destruction. The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall.

In v. 11, their is a stunning confession of the wicked man’s heart. He arrogantly states, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” How many people today live just like this wicked man. They do things thinking no one will ever know, that they will never be found out, and that no one will ever see it. So many of us operate and live our lives thinking God is not watching. In summary, the wicked described in Psalm 10 are arrogant selfish brutes who take advantage of the weak and openly mock and defy God, yet the continue to prosper.

v. 12–15 - The reality of the wicked prospering is to much for the psalmist to watch. In v. 12, he turns to prayer begging God to arise and lift his hand. He is asking the Lord to do something and to intervene in the evil all around him. Yet, the psalmist affirms that though the wicked will say that God will not hold them accountable, the psalmist knows the truth. Even though the wicked think their evil deeds will never be revealed, God sees all. No matter their scheming and their deception, God knows. Every man secretly enjoying the perverse titillation of child pornography to the sexual trafficking taking place in a dark ally in India, God sees it all. Though wicked men think they are getting away with their evil deeds in secret, He sees their mischief and vexation. God does not turn a blind eye to evil. In fact, God knows the horrors and evil of this world better than any human being ever could.

Yet, God does not only see the evil of the wicked, he plans to take action. He is a God who protects the helpless and commits himself to their cause. Spiritually, we know this to be true. In Jesus’ arrival he came and surrounded himself with the weak and helpless. The Gospel of the kingdom came to the outcasts and oppressed in society. Jesus came to deliver us from our sins, and save us not only from our personal sins, but to restore this broken and fallen world from wicked men.

One day, Jesus will come back for his church and break the arm of the wicked and evildoer. Those who practice such evil, greed, murder, and oppression will one day stand before a holy and blameless God to give an account. Every secret motive of the heart and every evil action done in secret will be revealed. As Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account”. There is a coming day of judgement, and on that day justice will be administered. The wicked will one day be exposed, naked, before the frightening and terrifying holiness of the glory of God. Those not in Christ will find themselves cast away from his presence into the eternal death and torment in hell.

v. 16–18 - The Psalm concludes with an affirmation and trust in God’s just rule. God is King forever and ever. God hears the cry of the afflicted. He will bring about justice to the fatherless and to the oppressed.

By the end of the Psalm, though there is a celebration of God’s kingship, the question is not fully revolved. Yes, the wicked will one day be held to account, but why does God allow them now to prosper? Why is his judgement and justice delayed? Well there are a few reasons why the Scriptures tell us. One of them is that God is being merciful in delaying his judgement so that his kindness is meant to lead to repentance (Rom 2:4). If God was to execute all of his justice immediately the sin was committed, than no human being would be left in existence. God in his kindness delays his just wrath towards the wicked in order to give them an opportunity to repent and trust in Christ.

Yet, the question of why God allows evil acts to continue ultimately remains a mystery. We are not God and we are not sovereign. He is. Therefore, as we struggle sometimes as to why God seems to be so very far away in light of the evil we experience in our lives, we can trust knowing that he is a good God who knows all. We know that he hears the cause of the afflicted and he will one day hold the wicked account for their actions in the final judgement. In those moments of struggle, as we witness evil men and women prosper, we can rest assured that there is coming a day when Christ returns when the King of Kings will execute his perfect justice “so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

Prayer Guide

  • Express your concerns to God concerning the evil you witness.
  • Ask the Lord to intervene and bring justice in those situations
  • Praise the Lord that he knows all and is not ignorant of human evil.
  • Praise God for Jesus and for the day of his return to come quickly.
  • Express your concerns to God knowing that he hears the desire of the afflicted