Psalm 10: Wickedness when God seems absent
Comments: The absence of a title with this psalm makes
it one of what are sometimes called ‘orphan psalms'. Thus we don't
know who the writer is or the context for their writing. The psalmist
faces the situation that sometimes appears to happen – God seems
absent and thus the wicked appear to get away with their wickedness.
verse 1 he identifies such situations and then in verses 2 to
13 he outlines the attitudes and actions of the wicked who think
they are getting away with it. To bring balance he then [v.14-18]
declares what he knows of the Lord in this particular context:
that Gods sees everything and is there to support and be there
for those who are victims of others [v.14]. But the psalmist can't
help crying out for the Lord to act against the wicked individual
[v.15] and the wicked nation [v.16]. He knows the Lord sees and
hears the needy, He IS there for them, but [implied] we may have
to wait for justice [v.17,18].
A Cry to the Lord
Sometimes God seems absent so wickedness seems to prevail
Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
The Ways of the Wicked
The wicked ‘do down' the weak
his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
His human desires are all-important to him
boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the
In his boasting & arrogance he excludes God
his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
in all his thoughts there is no room for
He appears to prosper, rejecting rules and other people
ways are always prosperous;
your laws are rejected by him;
he sneers at all his enemies.
He feels invincible
says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
Lies, threats & untruths are the currency of his life
mouth is full of lies and threats;
trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He kills those weaker than himself
lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them
off in his net.
victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
He thinks he gets away with it
says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won't call me to account”?
Attributes of God
But the truth is that God sees and is there for the weak
you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
The psalmist calls for God to exercise his judicial power
the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
He proclaims the Lord's sovereignty
Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
He affirms the Lord's concern and ear open to the afflicted
Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to
He affirms the Lord acts into this world on their behalf
the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.
Comments: It is a psalm that recognises the reality
of the fallen world where people have been given free will and
often exercise it against other people. Theologically the Lord
obviously gives that free will to every person and therefore that
means that lots of bad things happen as those who might be categorized
as ‘wicked' – morally very bad – use their power to deride, hurt
or abuse those who are weaker or more vulnerable. Although the
psalmist recognises this, it doesn't stop him crying out to the
Lord to come more strongly for the weak and vulnerable and to
deal with the wicked. The lesson must be that although we can
see how evil exists, it should not stop us praying and acting
against it. We may also add that although sometimes injustice
seems to prevail, ultimately it will be dealt with after death
at the Last Judgment.]
to Psalm 11