October 23 2022
Today, Sunday October 23
O LORD, Where Are You?
“Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide in times of trouble?
The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight; As for all his enemies, he sneers at them. He has said in his heart, "I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity." His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity. He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless. He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net. So he crouches, he lies low, That the helpless may fall by his strength. He has said in his heart, "God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see." Arise, O LORD! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, "You will not require an account."
Psalm 10 does not have a title before it that tells us who is the writer but most commentators believe that David wrote this Psalm for at least a couple of reasons. One reason is that in the Hebrew Bible, Psalm 10 is a continuation of Psalm 9, and they appear as one chapter. These two chapters are linked by an irregular acrostic started in chapter nine and ending in chapter ten. Another reason is because from Psalm 3 through Psalm 9, they all have a title saying that they are “A Psalm of David”. Then from Psalm 11 through Psalm 32, they also begin with a title saying they are “A Psalm of David.” So because of its location between all these Psalms written by David it is concluded that Psalm 10 was also written by David.
The problem in Psalm 9 is the enemy invading from without, while the problem in Psalm 10 is the enemy corrupting and destroying from within. There were wicked nations around Israel (9:5), but there were also wicked people within the covenant community (10:4), people who claimed to know God, but whose lives proved they did not know God.
Paul was dealing with this same issue in the churches on the island of Crete when he wrote his letter to Titus. “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16). They know there is a God, but they live as though there is no God or no final judgment. They are "practical atheists" who are their own gods and do whatever they please.
The psalmist wrestles with the age-old problem, "Why doesn't God do something about the prosperity of the wicked (vv. 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 15) and the misery of the afflicted (vv. 2, 8-10, 12, 14, 17, 18)?" This question and problem is also discussed in Psalm 13:1-3; 27:9; 30:7; 44:23-24; 73; and 88:13-15, as well as Job 13:24 and Jeremiah 14. The wicked are marching through the land, but the Lord seems to be distant and unconcerned.
Even now as we watch what is going on in Ukraine, and observe thousands of people who have lost their homes, jobs, possessions, families, and even their lives because of the ruthless deeds of evil leaders, we might be asking, “Where is God”? This question is asked over and over again through the Psalms. Look up and read Psalm 22:1, 11; 35:22; 38:21; 42:9; 43:2; 71:12; 74:1; 88:14. God has expressed a special concern for widows, orphans, and the helpless in other Bible passages such as Psalm 68:5; 82:3; Deut. 10:18; 24:17-21; 26:12-13; 27:19, yet He is not to be found. It appears that He "covers His eyes" as though nothing is happening.
Have you ever felt like this? David thinks the Lord is distant or indifferent to his situation. We think this way too sometimes, especially when our plans fall apart, our future looks bleak, our friends are few, when there is tragedy in our life or we don't know what to do. Why does the Lord remain silent when the innocent suffer and the wicked reign or have their own way? Why is He silent when good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people?
This mystery summons our faith into action and challenges us to trust Him when we can't understand what the Lord is up to. David took his complaints to the Lord and that is what we should do also!