THURSDAY, JANUARY 11
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 10
One of the striking things about the Psalms is David is so honest with his emotions. He often says things to God that we only think. He speaks things to God that we are afraid to utter. At the end of the day, God knows what we are thinking so we might as well just go ahead and say it. That doesn’t mean we should be disrespectful or hateful or profane. It does mean that there is a real place for honesty in our relationship with God.
As this Psalm opens, we find David asking, “Where are you God?” David is once again in a difficult place. And he feels that God has somehow abandoned him there. God seems far away. God seems to have hidden from David.
If you have been a Christ follower for any length of time, I suspect there has been at least one time, if not many times, that God has seemed far from you. It may have been during some dark night of the soul. It may have been during some time that others were attacking you. It may have been during some time of great fear and uncertainty. But we all have undoubtedly felt separated from God.
That is a particularly lonely feeling. Although we may know the truth that God is right there, an ever present help in a time of trouble, sometimes our feelings override our knowing. And we feel alone. I think that’s where David is.
As he looks around he sees what appear to be wicked, evil people gaining the upper hand. They seem to be having their way taking advantage of others and mistreating them. Worse yet, in verse 5, they seem to be prospering in the midst of their evil deeds. And from David’s perspective, God is nowhere to be seen.
But it is just not David. In verse 4, the wicked have become so arrogant they go so far as to question the existence of God. In verse 11, the wicked convince themselves that even if there is a God, He can’t see what they are doing. And in verse 13, there will be no accounting for their behavior. In other words, they feel like they will never face judgment for their wickedness.
Finally in verse 12, David cries out for God to arise, for God to get up and to take control of the situation. In verse 15, David even suggests that God should break the arm of the evildoer. Commentators will tell you that this is reference to breaking their power. But I have to tell you I am quite convinced David was thinking about physical arms not metaphorical ones. I know it shouldn’t be funny but I almost have to laugh when I think about David trying to convince God to break someone’s arm. Now that is an honest prayer.
Throughout this Psalm, you see David repeating his belief that God cares for and has a responsibility to the afflicted, the poor, the innocent, the helpless, and the fatherless. God does indeed have a special place for these folks. We see it throughout the Bible. We see it particularly with the orphans (the fatherless) and the widows. But God does truly care about how those who are incapable of caring for themselves are treated. As Christ followers and as a church, we do Gospel work when we help those who cannot help themselves, when we provide for those who cannot provide for themselves, when we protect those who cannot protect themselves.