Ever wondered why God doesn’t do something about the co-worker from you-know-where or the family member getting away with everything? If so, you’re not alone. In life, we often come in contact with unkind people and sometimes even those much worse. So, does the Bible have anything for us when it seems evil is winning? Yep. I recently found Psalm 10 to be a great word about it.
How the psalmist begins is interesting. He starts with, “Why do you stand afar off?” Ever thought that? We know He is mindful of all things, but sometimes it sure doesn’t feel like it. So let’s look at how he answers his own question.
First, he describes the mindset of Mr. Jerk and Ms. Scoundrel in verses 2-13:
2The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor;Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. 3For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the Lord. 4The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. 5His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight; As for all his enemies, he sneers at them. 6He has said in his heart, “I shall not be moved; I shall never be in adversity.” 7His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and oppression;Under his tongue is trouble and iniquity…
11He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.” 12Arise, O Lord! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. 13Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, “You will not require an account.” (NKJV)
- No acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty (v.2-4)
- Arrogant spirit (v.5-7)
- No consideration of a final accounting (v.12-13)
- A prideful heart (v.2,4,3,6,11,13)
So why is the mindset important? It’s because it gives us insight into motive and drive. All of the negative words and actions are tied directly to the heart and only God can change that. So what does the psalmist recommend?
- Remember that God is still in complete control – “You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by your hand…” (v.14)
- Remember that God makes decisions as King without our input – “The Lord is King forever and ever.” (v.16)
Along with those two things, consider that it may be the Lord’s timing that’s really causing our questions. We see things in the here and now…a tiny corner of a BIG picture. Think back to when God was telling Abram about his descendents in Genesis 15. He describes their future of becoming a great nation, being slaves and then leaving in mighty power. In verse 16 He reveals a tiny clue about how He sees the bigger picture:
16But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” (NJKV)
The destruction of the Amorites was to be over 400 years in the future. God was pronouncing judgment, but not executing it for generations…wow! That’s different and outside of our thinking because it’s God’s area of operation! Often, we just simply don’t know what the bigger picture is. Absolutely no wrong will escape judgment (II Tim. 4:1, Heb. 9:27), but it may be God allowing them additional time to repent (like the city of Nineveh did after Jonah’s preaching) or a circumstance is being developed to draw them to faith.
So where does that leave us personally in grappling with it all? Well, verse 17 says “He will hear and prepare the heart of the humble”. I don’t know about you, but I need that…I REALLY need that! The only way for us to deal with jerks and scoundrels properly is to let the Lord be our guide. Even though a good punch in the mouth or cold shoulder may feel justified, I can’t allow myself to get pulled into the same mindset. The bottom line is we are called to ACT different, SPEAK different and THINK different, even when the pressure is on (Romans 12:1-2).
So here’s the take away: Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment. And while you’re at it, Mr. Jerk and Ms. Scoundrel could use prayer too. God may surprise you.
Series: Psalms-Lesson 3