Psalm 10 begins on a rather negative note, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” This may seem negative, but it is also a very human reaction. At times, when we face trials and crisis, the Lord does seen to be far off and impersonal.
This is especially true when we have to deal with those that reject the Lord. Verses 2 through 11 vividly describe a person who has no thought of the Lord, or his responsibilities to God. “His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake me I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.’ He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.’” How many of us know people that reflect that attitude in their lives? When we look at unbelief and the evil actions that come from it, we may wonder why God allows this to happen. Why does He seem to stand off and watch?
Today, it seems like the forces arrayed against the Lord’s people – the Church – are growing stronger.
The doomsday prophets see the church in retreat. People challenge the fact that God is involved in the world of man today. “Look at the evil that exists. Look at how unfair things seem to be. Look at the people that seem to be doing just fine that never once thought about God or Jesus Christ.”
These statements may be correct. There is a great deal of evil in the world. In fact, considering the nature of the world, it would be surprising if it was otherwise. However, the apparent strength of the opposition to Christ has nothing to do with the reality of God and His authority. What is David’s response to such thoughts? Verse 16 states, “The Lord is King for ever and ever….” Appearances are deceiving. Regardless how the world sees the present order, the Lord is King forever and ever. Simply because people may ignore that truth does not make it less real and true.
One of the reasons why the Lord seems to stand back is His desire that all come to Him, and the Lord will give each person as many chances as possible to accept the offer of salvation. Peter wrote, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God is love, and He does love all people. That is why the offer of salvation is open to all. When we think that God does not seem to care, it may be that he is giving a person another chance to repent.
As for us, we know that the Lord is King, and we know that we have an inheritance of eternal life. What can happen to us in this world that will change that? Can it be taken away or destroyed? No. There is nothing in this world that can affect our relationship with the Lord except ourselves. We can reject the offer that has been made; but other than that, our treasure is secure. Yes, as we have to face the day to day problems of life, we may echo the thoughts of David – “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?” But as we consider the entire picture, we know better.
God doesn’t stand far off. He is right here with us. Yes, we will have to face problems and trials. Yes, we will see injustice and tragedy in the world. God never promised to place us in a vacuum. But as we place our lives in the hands of our Lord, He will strengthen us and guide us to a more Christ-like life. The first verse of Psalm 10 began very negatively, but the last is a message of hope. “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”
A final thought concerns verse 6 again. The wicked say, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.” We know better. Such people are fooling themselves. Sooner or later, the sharp bite of despair will be felt. The words said with such arrogance in verse 6 are the words of youth and health. Everything in this life will surely pass away. Only the Lord stands forever. Only those that are joined to Him in Jesus Christ can say, “I will never be shaken!” That is a blessing that we need to remember.