Psalms of Honesty and Truth
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 (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. This is troubling to the Psalmist and for awhile the “songleader” loses his song. Honesty. He cries out, God do you see what is going on? Where are you, God?
As we work our way through this passage, we follow the human thinking of the writer and we relate. We also cry out to God at times, maybe more times than not, with these same questions as people who love God, in the thick of ministry, and we see people not responding and for sure not living as they say they believe. Then we realize, of course, God knows and sees it all. He will always have the final say. “But you know all about it…” writes the resolved Psalmist. Oh yeah, You are God and we are not. And we soon realize, as the Psalmist does in the last line of his “song”…”Yahweh’s grace and order wins, godlessness loses.”
Psalm 10, The Message
1-2 God, are you avoiding me?
Where are you when I need you?
Full of hot air, the wicked
are hot on the trail of the poor.
Trip them up, tangle them up
in their fine-tuned plots.
3-4 The wicked are windbags,
the swindlers have foul breath.
The wicked snub God,
their noses stuck high in the air.
Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls:
“Catch us if you can!” “God is dead.”
5-6 They care nothing for what you think;
if you get in their way, they blow you off.
They live (they think) a charmed life:
“We can’t go wrong. This is our lucky year!”
7-8 They carry a mouthful of hexes,
their tongues spit venom like adders.
They hide behind ordinary people,
then pounce on their victims.
9 They mark the luckless,
then wait like a hunter in a blind;
When the poor wretch wanders too close,
they stab him in the back.
10-11 The hapless fool is kicked to the ground,
the unlucky victim is brutally axed.
He thinks God has dumped him,
he’s sure that God is indifferent to his plight.
12-13 Time to get up, God—get moving.
The luckless think they’re Godforsaken.
They wonder why the wicked scorn God
and get away with it,
Why the wicked are so cocksure
they’ll never come up for audit.
14 But you know all about it—
the contempt, the abuse.
I dare to believe that the luckless
will get lucky someday in you.
You won’t let them down:
orphans won’t be orphans forever.
15-16 Break the wicked right arms,
break all the evil left arms.
Search and destroy
every sign of crime.
God’s grace and order wins;
17-18 The victim’s faint pulse picks up;
the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood
as you put your ear to their lips.
Orphans get parents,
the homeless get homes.
The reign of terror is over,
the rule of the gang lords is ended.
God is on the move. God is in control. God knows what you are going through. Always.
As we prayer through the Psalms, let us pray in Jesus Name, Amen.