Psalm 10: Part 2 of 3 (series: Lessons on Psalms)
by John Lowe
Statement #3: “God doesn’t see me” (vv. 8-11). Like ferocious lions, wicked people hide and watch for opportunities to pounce on helpless prey, and like hunters or fishermen, they catch their prey in their nets. They are sure the law won’t catch up with them or the Lord notice what they do. The lion is often used to represent ruthless sinners who attack others (17:12, 37:32; 56:6; 59:3; 64:4).
Answer: “God sees what is going on” (v. 14). This answers the claim in verses 8-11 that the Lord pays no attention to what the wicked are doing. Even more, God sees the trouble (outward circumstances) and grief (inward feelings) caused by the wicked as they persecute the helpless, and He will take the matter in hand. The poor and needy can safely commit themselves into the hands of the Lord “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Ps. 55:22). Cast it on Him, and leave it with Him to do as He pleases, who works all things after the counsel of His own will..
Statement #4: “God will not judge me” (vv. 12-13). At this point, the psalmist cries out to God for help, and he uses three different names for God: Jehovah, the God of the covenant, and El or Elohim, the God of power. The wicked boast that God will not investigate their sins, or judge them, but God says, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). The Lord will keep His covenant promises to his people, and there will be a day of reckoning when sinners will be judged by a righteous God. “Arise, O God” takes us back to Numbers 10:35 and the triumphant march of Israel.
Answer: “God judges sin” (v. 15). This answers the false claim of verses 12 and 13. The psalmist prays that the Lord will carefully investigate each sinner’s life and works, until every evil deed is exposed and judged. But he asks that the sinners be judged in this life and their power removed (“break the arm”). This prayer isn’t always answered. “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed” (Rev. 6:9-11). We may not be “longsuffering” but God is, and He will avenge those who have been persecuted at a time He has already set to do so. Every person will be judged for what they have done in the flesh. Only the redeemed of the Lord will escape a deadly sentence.
Verse 1: The writer complained to the Lord, who seemed to be uninterested in the plight of the oppressed. The seeming indifference of God in the face of wrongs or ills suffered by the righteous is a frequent basis of complaint in the psalms. The fact that the wicked may triumph caused the psalmist to ask the Lord why He is hiding Himself from the trouble. The question is a bold expression of the true feelings of oppressed people who cry out for help.
There are two things that characterize the wicked in these verses; pride and boasting. Do you want to know who the wicked are as you look around the world? They are those who are filled with pride, the “great” of the earth, who have no place for God in their lives. Also, they do a great deal of boasting.
Verse 2: In verses 2-7 David delineated the character of the oppressor—full of pride in verse 2.
The times are hard for members of the Lord’s congregation who are pursued by the arrogant wicked and ensnared in their schemes. The meaning of the term “the poor,” as it is used here, means “those who depend upon God.” Their oppressors are godless. And the result is that the Lord’s disheartened people begin to doubt that God sees or cares. He seems so aloof; His people have no awareness of His presence.
Passionate words against bad men do more hurt than good, and therefore, if we speak of their badness, let it be to the Lord in prayer; only He can make them better.
Verse 3: The sinner proudly glories (boasts) in his power and success. He lives without God, yet he prospers in material ways. The wicked man afflicts the weak and speaks abusively of the Lord. The description of the wicked (vv. 3-11) is a terrible one. They are unbridled in their lust for possessions; they have cast off the restraints of religion, for they not only blaspheme God but even deny His existence; what they cannot take by crafty speech they plot to take by violence, robbery, and murder.
Verse 4: Wicked people will not seek after God, that is, will not call upon him. They live without prayer, and that is living without God. They have many thoughts, many objects, and devices, but they don’tthink of the Lord in any of them; they will not submit to His will, nor do they desire to bring Him glory. “In all his thoughts there is no room for God” is better translated: “All his thoughts are; there is no God.” The wicked are proud and confident.
In the time of David, their began to emerge for the first time in history those who were atheist. There were no atheists in the beginning because they were too close to God’s revelations of Himself to man. After all, Noah knew a man who knew Adam. When you are that close to the time of creation, you are not apt to deny the existence of God. When the Ten Commandments were given, there was no commandment against atheism; but there was one against polytheism—the worship of many gods. The first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.” The second commandment is: “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Ex. 20:4). There are two commandments against polytheism, and none against atheism because there were no atheists. However, David will mention atheism several times.
The antichrist at the end times will be characterized by atheism, filled with pride and boasting.
Verse 5: God is not relevant in the lives of wicked people because of their pride. They are “haughty” and think it is below them to be religious. They have no room for God and God’s laws. They could not break all the laws of justice and goodness toward man, if they had not first shaken off all sense of religion. Their aggravations are for all who are within their reach, but especially for the poor who cannot protect themselves; and for just and good men, whom they hate and persecute. Such a person is convinced that he cannot be moved from his wicked ways. He thinks he can continue undisturbed in his prosperity.
God is always a mystery and He must always remain so to our finite minds. Even the life that we desire to enter into is one of the hidden wonders of God. But at every point in our existence, we are given enough light to live by: our worst tragedy is to become self-blinded so that we cannot use the light we have. Darkness of this type is the inevitable consequence of “pride.”
Verse 6: The absence of immediate punishment upon wrongdoers is always a strong argument for a sinner whose values are located wholly within this world, so that even death creates little fear for him—he thinks he will always be “happy.”
Verse 7: “Under his tongue” implies “kept in readiness” (“on the tip of the tongue”), and the meaning is that the words he speaks will cause tragedy. His words are deceitful and destructive.
Verse 8: In verses 8-11, the psalmist described the wicked as lurking (“lies in wait” occurs three times in verses 8-9) “in secret” places “like a lion” to attack his helpless victims, and to drag “them off” like a fisherman does with “his net.”“Victims” probably means “unfortunate” (“out of luck”).
Verse 9: “He lies in wait like a lion” refers to how a lion gathers himself into a compact shape as it prepares to spring upon its unsuspecting victim. This imagery of a “lion” and fisherman suggests cunning men waiting to attack.
Verse 10: The afflicted (that is, the righteous) are crushed by the wicked. Since God may not immediately rescue them, the wicked person is convinced that God does not care for or see the righteous.