LIVING IN TENSION
Lord, thank You for being there when I need You.
Read PSALM 10
1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5 His ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
7 His mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
8 He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
9 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.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thank God for when you’ve known him as “a stronghold in times of trouble.” Pray for any situations where you need to know that today.
The Septuagint has Psalms 9 and 10 as one psalm. They share enough distinctive phrases to suggest a single composition. Together they form an acrostic poem (where each two verses begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet in turn).
However, they are very different in tone. Psalm 9 confidently begins with praise for God’s wonders (1) and ends with a plea for him to arise and not let man triumph (19,20). In contrast, Psalm 10 begins with a heartfelt cry: “Why, Lord, do you stand so far off?” If God is a “stronghold in times of trouble” (9:9), it asks, why do the helpless feel that he hides himself in those times (10:1)? A stark contrast indeed. The helpless are inching near utter despair, the prey of the wicked (2,9,10), who boast that justice will never come, because God isn’t watching (5,6,11). This tension overflows into a bold and desperate prayer: where 9:12 tells us that the Lord doesn’t forget the helpless, 10:12 demands that he stir himself to ensure that they are not
forgotten; where 9:16 tells us that the Lord is known by his justice, 10:13–15 urges him to put that into practice by breaking the power of the wicked. The wicked have reviled God (3,13), and so the writer boldly asks him to keep his promise and defend the helpless against
The two psalms embody different emotions, yet both are authentic responses to God. I do remember a joy-filled church weekend at which God touched many, while I was busy wrestling with the news of one friend’s miscarriage and another’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. The psalms challenge us to be real and bold, living with the tension between the now and the not yet: grieving, yet not as those who have no hope.
Where is the wrestle between being real and bold most challenging for you at the moment?
Lord, keep Your people free from the designs of the wicked, those who wish us harm.
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