“Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart's desire; he blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” (Psalm 10:1-4).
Do you ever struggle with anger and discouragement when you observe wicked people apparently getting away with their sinful behavior which often times hurt others? If so, you are not alone. God’s people have always struggled with this as the opening verses of Psalm 10 above show. We are not told who wrote this psalm, but it accurately describes the heart of a child of God who is struggling with their faith. Like the writer of this psalm, they see the wicked hurting other people by persecuting the poor, making evil plots, hurting the helpless by overpowering them, and murdering the innocent (Psalm 10:2, 8-10). All the while the wicked man curses God (Psalm 10:7), renounces God (Psalm 10:3), and says “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see” (Psalm 10:11). In fact, regarding the wicked man, it is said, “God is in none of his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4).
Is this not an accurate description of many ungodly people we see today whether they be criminals, politicians, or the people we have to work with or who live next door? The world is full of such people who “have God in none of their thoughts”. While the righteous strive to do their best to serve and honor God, the thought that such people will get away with their wickedness can become a source of discouragement for followers of God. Like many of us, the psalmist was troubled with this thought.
However, the psalmist was making assumptions that were not true. He was assuming God was not observing what was going on as he says to God, “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1). God wasn’t afar off or hiding in times of trouble. In fact, after he casts his care upon the Lord, the author realizes God was near and knew exactly what was going on: “But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand. The helpless commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14). After praying to God, the writer of this Psalm remembers God is King and He will ultimately execute justice: “The Lord is King forever and ever; the nations have perished out of His land. Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more” (Psalm 10:16-18).
This psalm is a great example of the power of prayer not only in soliciting God’s help, but also in changing our hearts. In the beginning of this psalm the writer is all “worked up” over the apparent escape of the wicked from God’s justice. By the end of the psalm, the author is filled with peace as he remembers God is “King forever” and will execute justice upon the wicked in the end. The psalmist heart has been changed! He is no longer agitated over the acts of the wicked, but has “committed himself” to God over this matter and with God’s help will prepare his heart to trust in God’s justice (Psalm 10:14, 16). Today, I will not allow myself to get “worked up” over when wicked people appear to prosper and get away with hurting others. Instead, I will commit myself to God and remember that He is “King forever” and the wicked will one day face God in judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10). I won’t allow the deeds of the wicked to rob me of the peace I have in God!
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:9-10).