285 – Psalm 10 – Introduction
I find it interesting that the psalm’s title is “A song of confidence in God’s Triumph Over evil”. Yet the very first verse seems to express the exact opposite sentiment. I wonder, how many of us have had in our hearts the same question for God that we find in the very first word of the first verse, “why”? We want to believe that God is watching over us and that He has our best interests at heart. But then there are those times it just seems like He lets bad things happen to us or those we love. It is especially painful when we see people who don’t know Him, or who outright hate Him, prospering. Why don’t bad things happen to those wicked people? We just can’t comprehend the apparent contradiction so the question bubbles up from within, “Why God?”
10:1 Why do You stand afar off, O [ YHWH]? Why do You hide in times of trouble?
Right or wrong the Psalmist has reached a couple of conclusions about Yahweh and records them for us in the first verse. The declaration is Yahweh “stands afar off” and He “hides”. When does He do these two things? When the Psalmist needs him most, “in times of trouble”! But is it true? Does God ever “stand afar off”, or “hide in times of trouble”? How could we know? God is a Spirit, we can’t know where God is unless He makes us aware of His presence. Besides, can you imagine the sovereign of the universe ever hiding from anything or anyone?
Maybe the truth the Psalmist is expressing is something like, YHWH, in times of trouble I don’t sense your presence, nor see you working, why is that? Or maybe the thought is just setting the stage for the Psalmist to ask God to intervene? Why do I say that? Well, it seems to me if this “why” question was consuming the Psalmist he’d dwell on it in subsequent sentences. But he doesn’t, he moves immediately to informing God of the actions of the “wicked” in the first part verse two. Then in the second part of verse two, the Psalmist asks God to get involved, “let them be caught…”
Psalm 10:2 (NKJV)
2 The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
The Psalmist has introduced a bad actor in verse two that he calls, “the wicked”. As quickly as he mentions the “wicked” he asks YHWH to intervene. Is that your natural inclination? Do you entreat YHWH as soon as you encounter the wicked? Or do you rise up in anger against the wicked? Do you, in your own strength attempt to stop him? Or maybe you run and tell a friend all about what the wicked person is doing? How is it that the Psalmist got it right by taking it immediately to YHWH? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe he learned in the school of hard knocks. Maybe he had done it wrong enough times that he finally figured out that YHWH is really the only One able to deal effectively with this bad actor. Either way, the sooner we turn YHWH’s business over to Him, and get out of His way the better!
The Psalmist has some insight into the wicked person and presents it to YHWH as a part of his prayer. I’m glad it is in the written record so we can learn from the Psalmist’s wisdom.
Psalm 10:3-4 (NKJV)
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire;
He blesses the greedy and renounces [YHWH]
4 The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;
God is in none of his thoughts.
Do you remember Hebrew poetry called parallelism? We will be talking about it from time to time as long as we are in the Psalms together. If you are a diligent student, it is something that should be considered in every Psalm you study. However, in our times together we won’t always have time. However, in verses three and four I think it’s particularly helpful to us. So which parallelism do you identify here?
I see synthetic parallelism. In the first part of verse three, we learn “the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire”. And the second part gives us additional information. It seems his desire is to “bless the greedy” and “renounce YHWH”. How sad for him! How is the wicked removed himself so far from YHWH?? I think verse four (a continuation of synthetic parallelism?) makes it plain. What’s getting between the wicked and YHWH? His “proud countenance” keeps him from “seeking God”.
Proverbs 6:12-19 gives us more detail about the wicked. Interestingly, pride is mentioned there too. Consider verses 16-19.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)
16 These six things [YHWH] hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
I don’t know what you think, but it seems to me if we are told YHWH hates seven things those are seven things we should run from, don’t you agree?? He hates “a proud look”. I mean is that so bad? A proud look? How could that be so bad? Taking the time to explore all the Scriptures say about pride would be incredibly insightful, but for now, I think our passage hints at why pride is so hated by YHWH. Look at verse 4 again. The proud person does not “seek God”, he does not retain God in his thoughts.
Pride exalts the practitioner above God. It’s what got Lucifer kicked out of heaven. Pride causes us to put our confidence in our own abilities. It causes us to perceive ourselves as more powerful and important than we really are, and it writes God out of the picture. Look at James 4:7-10.
James 4:7-10 (NKJV)
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
According to this passage, submission and humility are the opposite of pride. YHWH God truly is worthy of all Praise, Worship, and adoration. Won’t you humble yourself before Him? Lean on Him. Submit to Him. He truly is worthy!