Monday, 18 April 2011

Psalm 10 - An exposition

Some have suggested that Psalm 10 is a run on from psalm 9 and that psalm 9 and 10 may have been a single acrostic poem, the stanzas of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Psalm 10 like Psalm 9 is a plea for Justice, for God to arise and help the afflicted. The Psalmist takes his case to the divine court where God administers Justice to the righteous but the Judge as well as being perfectly righteous administers punishment to the wicked in his own timing. He permit’s the righteous to suffer for a while, He permits their soul to witness injustice so that they may cry out to Him and He may take delight in vindicating them and His righteousness.

The psalmist being on earth and God being in Heaven although omniscient the Psalmist asks of God, vs. 1, Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? The psalmist could not understand the absence of God in times of trouble for surely if God is ever to appear then it must be in times of trouble. But here we see that God is absent from his situation, God is occupied with another duty and surely the psalmist must feel himself to be forsaken and deserted by God. Have you felt thus that in times of your persecution, when you looked for God, you could not find him. Has this perplexed your soul that God should hide himself from you? In your most horrific situation where you have undergone a most terrible calamity and your soul being depressed wonders, where was God. God being who he is surely must know of your situation and if he does then why does he delay? Those who do not know the character of God are quick to leap to an erroneous conclusion that God must not love them or that He is not a kind God who delights to help the weak. They are quick to turn their faith into atheism being fools that therein is no comfort for their souls except in the steadfast abode of the Almighty. But those who have tasted the goodness and kindness of Jehovah are of better minds - although they feel the absence of his presence they know in their innermost being that all things work together for their good. That although God may be absent now due to his own divine reasons that yet he knows of their conditions and will come to deliver them. These are the ones found not to shrink back but to hold on steadfastly to their God like Christ who held fast to his cross because he knew that His resurrection was imminent.

The Psalmist now considers the heart of the wicked and of their consistent arrogance and continual boasting in the fruit of their devilish deeds. Vs. 2, In his arrogance the wicked man hunts the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. The powerful men of this world, the powerful nations have been consistently found to exploit the weak - the whitemen of England with their powerful technology destroyed the land of Africa to their own gain; empires were founded upon the exploitations of slaves, upon the weakness of  ordinary citizens and economic sanctions have been found to favour the rich. The poor gets poorer while the rich get richer. Also to be found is the corruption of many African governments where the weak are ruled with an iron fist and all the benefits which should flow to them from the abundance of the land’s natural resources are found to be kept in the pocket of the few. This is injustice, a cry of brutality and if not for God's sovereign restraint upon the evilness of men then this earth should be a million times worse than it is found today.  The wicked man, vs. 3, boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD. Modern day songs are examples of this wickedness for we see the rappers and the singers to boast about the wickedness of their deeds, they boast about their ungodliness and everything contrary to God’s command. Naturally because of their corrupt heart they are found vile in God’s sight and instead of a hearty repentance, they continue to rebel and boast with a mighty cheer of their rebellion. Those who steal from the poor whether through corporate means or slavish labour are only to bless themselves and those who agree with their trade and practices. They despise the poor and bless those who which to exploit them. Governments are also found with the same wickedness for instead of dishing out the goodness of justice they are found to be bribe takers and seekers of lawless gains. In all their acts they revile the LORD for it was God who made the poor and whoever show contempt for the poor show contempt towards their Maker. The wicked are swelled up with pride and consider themselves to be the gravity of the entire universe, they seek to satisfy their own soul and thus it is not surprising vs.4 that the wicked man does not seek the LORD; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. For if there was room for God then the wicked would have forsaken his ways but he nullifies his conscience in order to chase God out so that freely he may commit his abominable practices. Is there room for God in your heart or have you chased him out so that you may satisfy your lust? Isit possible to meditate upon the sweetness of the Lord and yet practice evil? For those who meditate upon the beauty of the Lord will be like him but all those who replace the Lord with sin will become like sin, ugly, filthy and abominable to creation.

It is a strange thing to see and witness the prosperity of the wicked while the righteous man die of thirst. This is a solid example that mankind lives in a fallen world for we see of a wicked man that vs. 5 His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all of his enemies. Many wicked men have lived this life and many of them have been prosperous, they successfully exploited the weak and no one was found to bring them to justice. Gladly they lived their lives, walking in the freedom of the sunshine while the godly souls have been found chained in the dungeons. They prosper and the wicked flourish. They are against all of the Law of Yahweh for His ways is altogether different to theirs and they sneer at their victims. They delight in the death of the poor and thus they send their soldiers on a crusade to annihilate the opposing tribe, they do the deeds of darkness and slaughter the children. They have no mercy and they plunder the land to add to their own prosperity and take the milk from the babies mouth. The wicked man says to himself vs. 6 “Nothing will ever shake me”. He swears, “No one will ever do me harm”. 

The wicked in their prideful state are to be pitied for when they boast of their own security is when the Lord takes away their hope - he destroys them imminently through a disgraceful way and death takes away all of their pride. For foolish souls they are because nature should have taught them that as they entered the world so shall they exit it carrying non of their treasures with them but meeting with the fierce anger of a Holy God. But the wicked will not forsake his ways but carries on in his folly. vs. 7, His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. Wicked souls are the smoothest of talkers, openly they will draw you and sing your praise but secretly they are plotting your destruction. Their mouths drip like honey but their heart is as the vomit of a dog. Take heed what men speak well of you and heed not to man’s praise but seek the praise that comes from God. The wicked in their schemes aim on ruining life and although they have exploited the wealth of the towns they take their deeds to the villages. Vs. 8 He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent.  This is a most terrible act that the innocent should be destroyed, it is understandable when a man is punished for his crimes but when an innocent is killed for gain, it is most despicable and heinous; but such is the ways of the wicked that his eyes watch in secret for his victims. Vs. 9-11, like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees”.  But God does see, he sees all of their wicked ways and His heart is stirred with a holy anger; He is greatly angered by their evil and divine justice will have its day. But some of you may not consider yourself to be so wicked but is it not true of the same principle that when we commit our secret sins we say that God does not see us. But we fear the presence of man but disregard the presence of God. Is this not evil and are you not guilty that you have exulted man above God. For when you commit your sins you forget the ways of the Lord and feed your lust and wants; this is terrible my friend but forsake your unrighteous ways and live your life knowing that the eyes of the Lord is upon all of your ways.

The Psalmist feeling God to be afar off and tired of his condition and situation, hating the ways of the wicked and wanting justice calls to His creator to vs. 12 Arise, LORD! Although the Lord is everywhere and fills the whole universe yet it seems fitting that in any situation of injustice the righteous call upon the LORD to arise for as long as God is far off  it seems to them that God is sitting although He has his own purpose for such a delay yet they beseech His name. And when they do call upon His name, for their God to arise, they ask him to Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. For God to lift up his hand is to come and strike a blow to the wicked, to give them their due and portion but His justice is two fold for as well as striking the wicked he uplifts the helpless; he lifts them out of the ashes and sits them with princes; he comforts their broken heart. Our Lord Jesus saith, that ‘blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’. And who is their comforter, it is the whole God-head, for they find parental love from the Father, brotherly love from the Son and the Holy Spirit fills their soul with peace and Joy. God is the champion of the helpless and their comforter but the wicked have no such view of God so the psalmist asks the question, vs. 13 why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “he won’t call me into account”? The wicked man reviles God because He doesn’t know God, he has no fear of God in his eyes; God is too holy and pure for his ways, God is the contradiction of his living and thus the wicked man walks in opposition to God’s ways like the devil who is their father. The wicked man also exercise a great folly of which the devil does not dare entertain that is that God won’t call him into account. This is foolish and fuels his wickedness for if the wicked man knows of his imminent judgment then he would soon turn and forsake his wicked ways and plea for righteousness of God through the gospel to fall on him. Will you not likewise forsake your ways and turn to Christ knowing that judgement is to come after you depart from this life. Death may come to you today or tomorrow or in the foreseeable future but it will come and you do not know when. While there is still breath in you today there is a window of mercy opened to you.

But God does see all of the ways of the wicked and will call all men into judgment. For as surely as man dies so shall he enter into the judgment of the Son of God where his imperial reign will allot to each soul divine justice according to their deeds. Those who are found to be in Christ for they are not justified according to their deeds but the merits of Christ will dwell and reign with him but all who are found according to their deeds entirely will be found in the eternal flames of hell. Vs. 14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. Our God is a kind and compassionate God, he is full of care and tenderness - are you a grieved soul and laden with difficulty? Know this my friend, that God knows your grief and considers it; soon he will come and release you from your grief only if you would turn your eyes to him and look to him as the remedy for your grief. God loves you dearly and has not forgetting your condition. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.  Commit yourself to the Lord and by commitment is meant in the same manner as devotion, that is continually looking steadfastly upon the Lord and knowing that he is your helper. Also consider this that has God not dealt entirely with your biggest problem? He has for He has reconciled you back to himself and made you an heir with His divine Son and how shall he not now relive you from your grieve only if you would trust him and commit your restoration entirely upon Him. God in restoring the helpless also strikes the wicked as the psalmist asks of God to vs. 15 break the arm of the wicked man; call the evil doer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. This is the cry of tired sufferers, no longer can they endure the pain or the sight of the wicked's prosperity and the earthly court has failed them so they cry to God to deal justly with their evils. Although they may have hidden their crimes from human eyes, yet God you see them, so please put a stop to their advancement and injustice.

The Psalmist, hating the ways of the wicked and calling upon God to declare his anger against them and secure justice on them is confident of the nature of God’s character. He exalts that vs. 16 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. The psalmist speaks here of modern day Palestine, the land of the Israelites who are the descendant of Jacob. The promised land which the Lord had given them that is to the tribe of Israel is occupied by foreign men and because the LORD is king for ever and ever the nations will perish. God will not let his holy people suffer forever for vs. 17-18 he hears the desire of the afflicted; he encourages them and listens to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortal will never again strike terror.
 Do not grow weary in your afflictions and tribulations but be of good cheer for Christ has overcome this world and he is your great encourager; he endured his cross so that you may endure yours and every tear dropped on the pilgrim journey he has kept them all in the jars of the tears of the saints wherein upon entering (heaven) and the whole fold counted for He shall turn the tears into wine where it shall be an occasion for joy for all tears shall be wiped away.


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