Life Perspectives (Psalm 10)


Psalm 10:1–6, 12–18 (NIV)

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
    who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
    he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
    your laws are rejected by him;
    he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
    He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”

12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
    Do not forget the helpless.
13 Why does the wicked man revile God?
    Why does he say to himself,
    “He won’t call me to account”?
14 But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
    you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
    you are the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked man;
    call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
    that would not otherwise be found out.

16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror.



Today’s post is from A Meditative Journey Through the Psalms by Timothy and Julie Tennent. He serves as the president of Asbury Theological Seminary among other posts he holds across the global church. She is a gifted musician and was one of the driving forces that helped bring to fruition the Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. We will share some of their writing on the Psalms on Sundays.

This psalm is a continuation of the acrostic that we looked at last Sunday, Psalm 9.  An acrostic, as you recall, is a poetical form where every verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This psalm powerfully juxtaposes two different perspectives on life and on the unfolding of human history. There is the human perspective and there is the divine perspective.

The psalm opens with the psalmist caught in trouble and wondering why the Lord seems so distant and unconcerned: “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (v. 1). At every turn, the psalmist sees the righteous perishing and the wicked prevailing. This psalm is not content to merely describe the wicked; it actually brings us into the inner thought life of the wicked. “In all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous” (vv. 4–5). Three times the psalmist brings us right into the inner thought life of the wicked: “He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble’” (v. 6). “He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees’” (v. 11). “Why does he say to himself, ‘He won’t call me to account’?” (v. 13). The circumstances of the psalmist and the wicked seem to confirm this arrogant attitude. This is life and history from the human perspective.

Psalm 10 also gives us a beautiful glimpse into the divine perspective: “The Lord is King for ever and ever” (v. 16). From the perspective of the Enthroned One, we see the final end of the two paths. All the schemes of the wicked will be brought out into the light of God’s divine justice: the arm of the wicked will be broken, and they will have to give an account for their wickedness. The nations will perish. In contrast, the righteous will find in the end that the afflicted will be heard, the fatherless and the oppressed will be comforted, and today’s terror will be replaced by the joy of his divine presence. So, take heart! Remember that the day of the Lord is coming and all things will be set right!

For the Awakening,
Timothy and Julie Tennent


Sing Psalm 10 with the Seedbed Psalter today. I suggest the tune “Morning Song” (“My Soul Gives Glory to My God”). You can hear the tune played online by Julie Tennent here. If you listen to the podcast audio version, I will sing the psalm in this same tune. For your convenience, the words from the Psalter are printed below. 

1 Why, Lord, do You stand far away in times of trial and pain?
2 The wicked ones in arrogance afflict the weak for gain.
Let them be caught in schemes they plan; the wicked boast indeed!
3 They boast of cravings in their heart, renounce GOD, and bless greed.

4 In pride they do not seek Him and they think, “There is no God!”
5 They prosper and consider all God’s judgments as a fraud.
6 They sneer at foes and think these words: “For nothing can shake me.
I’ll always know this happiness, and trouble I’ll not see.”

7 His mouth is full of lies and threats, and evil’s on his tongue.
8 He waits to ambush innocent, to murder old or young.
9 For victims he in secret waits, like lions wait for prey;
He lurks that he may seize the poor and drag them off to slay.

10 He crushes helpless ones who sink and fall down hopelessly.
11 He says, “God has forgotten this, and He will never see.”
12 Arise, O Lord, lift up Your hand; forget not those in need!
13 Why do the wicked spurn You, God, and say, “He will not heed”?

14 But You, God, see our woe and grief; You take it all to mind.
The helpless ones know You’re their help; a father orphans find.
15 O break the arm of evil ones; call them before Your throne.
May all their deeds come into light, in judgment be made known.

16 The Lord is King for evermore, the nations will not stand.
17 O Lord, You hear the cries of all afflicted in the land.
18 For You defend the fatherless, and justice You’ll outpour
so that the wicked of the earth may terrify no more.

P.S. Get the Resources

If you would like to have the meditations and the metrical psalter in a beautiful two-volume set—which I highly recommend— you can order those through the Seedbed store. 

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Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. A very appropriate Psalm for the evil and chaotic times we currently live in. A much needed reminder that none of the evil schemes conceived by the powers of darkness go unnoticed by our God, who is enthroned in heaven above. A Day will come when those who have caused so much pain and suffering will receive God’s judgement and wrath poured out upon them. Those who’ve placed their hope in God’s providence will be rewarded with eternal life in glory. Hallelujah!

  2. When God is set aside:

    When there’s no room for God in people’s thoughts, they begin to pridefully think: “I can run my own life, keep myself happy, and stay out of trouble,” “What I’m thinking and doing is hidden from God,” and “I’ll never have to answer to anybody for my thoughts, words, and actions.” Those people renounce God, embrace self-focus, and boast about cravings and compulsions.

    If you will make room for God in your thoughts, open your heart to Him, and start to listen to and obey His still small voice, He will begin to direct your from within by His Spirit, and lead you to love, joy, peace, and all the rest of the fruit of the Spirit. Dare to prepare a path for God to continually work inside of you and you will inwardly begin to soar like an eagle.

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