The Book of Psalms Chapter Ten Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
God Will Hear You
Verse 1: "Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?" Have you ever felt like
God doesn't hear your prayers? You call out to Him but it's like your words, your tears bounce off the ceiling, and you feel alone. You aren't the only one with this problem, but it can seem like you are. We see it in this Psalm—just when we think we need Him the most, where is He? Where are You, Lord? Take note of this human author... we aren't sure about his name, but observe that God revealed the very SOUL of this person in the Book of Psalms; words that were to be read and felt for thousands of years by millions of people who struggle just like he did. He was not alone and God shared him with us. To me, he does sound like Asaph, who also wrote Psalm 73, but most important is that he beautifully expresses the heart of us all, as we reach out in the night, weeping, calling for the help of Almighty God!
Verses 2-3: "In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. 3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, and the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord." Ever since the beginning of so-called "civilization," warriors from the next town or nation have spilled out over their borders, invading a nearby village or country. You could have been selected to be a victim living in that time and place, but you weren't; though you might be one right now, because such atrocities are always occurring. The chief of a tribe or the president of a nation is never satisfied because the more they have, the more they want. What is that other person thinking as they look at us and smile? We don't know. What are they planning when they state they have "no hostile intentions"? Better than guns and missiles, we have a weapon that the "wicked" don't know about—we have prayer, and Almighty God answers prayer. And you may have noticed that the "greedy" one who "spurns the Lord" is likely to be caught in the trap he set for somebody else. If they won't turn to Him, God traps them, judges them, but is willing to heal them, both now and in eternity.
Verses 4-6: "The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, 'There is no God.' 5 His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are on high, out of his sight; As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them. 6 He says to himself, 'I will not be moved; throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.'" You've likely heard (and perhaps have quoted) Proverbs 16:18—"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Pride is dangerous and can ruin the proud. It's a lack of recognition that Almighty God is our Creator and King, and the proud one lapses into the delusion that they are somehow in charge. We need to remember David's words in Psalms 14:1 and 53:1—"The fool says in his heart 'There is no God.'" The verses in this chapter are a reminder of Asaph's words in Psalm 73, alerting us that when we awaken in eternity, this whole life we have lived will comparatively be like the dream we awoke from this morning. The pride-filled person is similar to the confident child who doesn't think they will ever grow old or die. Atheism, agnosticism—such responses reflect immaturity. Go to the Lord—the alternative is to spend eternity alone in sad "adversity" of the soul.
Verses 7-10: "His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is mischief and wickedness. 8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages; in the hiding places he kills the innocent; his eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate. 9 He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair; he lurks to catch the afflicted; he catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net. 10 He crouches, he bows down, and the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones." Notice how specific the writer is in telling God about his concerns. He tells God everything. The man is deeply troubled, and he is a model of how you and I should pray. Yes, I understand that God already knows what bothers us and what we will say, but we are discovering applied faith when we tell it to Him, and we learn more about faith (and about the Lord) when He answers. And if you are like the person or class of persons the writer is praying about—change—right now! Come to the Lord and be forgiven. If your thoughts or behavior is bad, there are people praying about you—people you may not even know. And God hears. Remember Matthew 5:21-22 & its context—our angry thoughts are regarded by the Lord as "murder."
Verse 11: "He says to himself, 'God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.'" Matthew 10:42—"if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward." The Lord remembers, He answers, forgives, heals, and He shares eternal love with those who have faith in Him. God does not forget... instead He forgives when we entrust ourselves to Him. He judges sin, rescues the afflicted and receives the humble. He is God. There really is no such thing as an atheist. At some level, everyone knows who God is, but the human tendency is to "suppress the truth in unrighteousness," as seen in the verses that follow Romans 1:18, describing the downward spiral of a nation, of people who reject the Lord.
Verses 12-15: "Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. 13 Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, 'You will not require it.' 14 You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You;
You have been the helper of the orphan. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, seek out his wickedness until You find none." God has expressed Himself in His creation, and revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, and it's incredible that people spurn Him. I remember, as a much younger man, denying that He existed. I was proud of myself, thinking that I had developed a nice philosophy of life. I espoused "causes" without truly caring for the individuals who were supposed to benefit from whatever cause it was. I now see that God does require accountability from us, and that is one reason we turn to Him. You and I are not God, but He is. As humans, we tend to neglect the needs of others, but God does not forget. He helps us on an ongoing basis, far more than we know. He seeks out our sins and reveals them to us, bringing us to the Son of God who saves us and heals us continually until we are finally with Him and no "wickedness" will ever be found in us again.
Verse 16: "The Lord is King forever and ever; nations have perished from His land." Some try to not notice it, but please be advised that, yes we have good times, but all of us grow old, get sick, and eventually die. If you hitch yourself to some human "star," a "significant other," as they say, you will eventually find disappointment. As humans we can't even fully trust ourselves. You have one true hope, as glimpsed in Hebrews 13:8—"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." The Lord is our "King." Nations rise and fall at His command. Yet our All-Powerful God also incredibly loves you and longs for you to place your faith in Him.
Verses 17-18: "O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear 18 to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror." Humility is a recognition, without pretense, of how things really are. God is real. He knows there are really only two classes of people in humanity—the faithful and the faithless. He does hear our prayers. He strengthens His people. He listens, vindicating the "orphan and the oppressed," bringing "terror" to an end. Why did World War II or any other war finally stop? People prayed, God heard and He answered just at the right time... He shouted "Enough" and wars stopped, according to His schedule; not merely in your time-line or mine. Trust in Him, pray for the afflicted, help the needy and God will hear you.
Dear God, I know that You hear me. You hear Your little ones when we cry out to You. I trust in You, Lord. Please forgive me when I am afraid and don't look to You. Heal me, Lord, and help me to help others. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.