Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devises that they have imagined. For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth” (Psalm 10:1-3).
Every Christian at one time or another has felt like this. Bad things happen and we cry out to God, “Where are You?” The psalmist is ranting against the wicked who boast about their evil and who condone greed. These are things that God “abhorreth.” This psalm wasn’t signed, but was most likely written by David. Such ungodly ways were not David’s ways and he certainly would have been outraged that such a man seemed to prosper. There are some who feel that it was written about Saul. Perhaps, but it’s still true today.
We can look around us and see wicked people, even our government leaders, who seem to prosper but never give God the glory. Not only do they not give Him the glory, but they arrogantly deny He exists. Like many of the psalms, this one begins with a cry of distress. As I read this I can feel the emotions that must have prompted this outcry, especially looking at the leadership in America. Prideful, greedy, and mocking the true God while worshipping a false Satanic god.
“The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4).
Christians must be careful. As we point our finger at wicked people, we need to ask ourselves if we are like them. The wicked will not seek after God, but what about us? Brethren, is God in all your thoughts? On Sunday morning you sit in a pew with your fellow believers, but what is your behavior on Monday morning with your co-workers? Do you laugh at the off-color jokes and take pleasure in listening to the weekend exploits of the unsaved? It’s easy to see the guilt of others, but that should cause us to examine ourselves more closely.
The apostle Peter admonished, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18).
Christ needs to be our example in all we do. If we forget to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him we can be led astray by the wicked. The psalmist has more to say about the wicked.
“His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved for I shall never be in adversity. His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity” (Psalm 10:5-7).
These wicked are all around us, and Christians are their enemy. They are self-confident, full of pride in their own accomplishments, their language is vulgar, and they lie to get their way. Politicians and movie stars come to mind as I read this, but anyone can fit the description. Why do they “puffeth” (sneer) at us? Born-again believers remind the wicked of their sin. Our very existence reminds them of God and they don’t want to be reminded.
Sadly, in many cases they see a double standard by those who say, “I am a Christian” but live worldly lives that deny Christ. Again I am drawn to Peter’s words warning against “being led away with the error of the wicked.” When you look in the mirror do you see Christ reflected there, or a wicked man who is not growing “in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” If we stray from God’s Word it is easy to stray from God.
“He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones” (Psalm 10:8-10).
The only way to describe this guy is wicked. He is sneaky and preys upon the less fortunate. Jesus was challenged by a scribe to give the first commandment of all:
“And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these’” (Mark 12:29-3).
The wicked man described by the psalmist has broken both of these commandments. He does not love God nor does he love his fellow man…he only loves himself.
“He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it” (Psalm 10:11).
This wicked man is described in earlier verses as not seeking after God and that God is not in all his thoughts, yet he does know that God exists. He denies him through his words and deeds, but arrogantly thinks God doesn’t see his sin. He has deceived himself. There will come a day when all of his wickedness will no longer be hidden. God does not hide His face from sin.
[Jesus said,] “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Luke 12:2-3.)
Christians need to remember that God sees what we do and hears our thoughts. It is imperative to keep our thoughts continually on Jesus and seek after His ways. Never deceive yourself into thinking that God will not see what you do.
“Now the psalmist turns from his anger and accusations against the wicked man and turns his thoughts to God. “Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble” (Psalm 10:12).
This is a plea for God to protect the humble against the wicked. Are Christians turning to God in prayer and supplication, asking Him to protect the innocent people who are being abused by the wicked? If we all fervently prayed for those persecuted in Muslim nations and China, could our prayers make a difference? I believe so. We need to seek God’s protection. God will take vengeance:
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
This means it isn’t our place to take revenge against the evildoer. God will fully repay the crime. We aren’t to sit back and watch as someone is being attacked, but it isn’t our place to seek revenge.
“Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it” (Psalm 10:13).
This is a simple question which the psalmist answers himself. The word “contemn” means to spurn or renounce. The reason he spurns God is that he says in his heart that God won’t care. What does God say about the heart?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
This wicked man, and all others like him, will reap what he sows.
“Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless. Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none” (Psalm 10:14-15).
“Now, the psalmist is resting in God’s wisdom. He knows that God sees the wrongs done by wicked people who are inspired by Satan to do evil.” For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).
Always remember the power of prayer. God hears our prayers. Even though there are times when we feel like wailing with the psalmist “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD”, God hears our prayer. When we submit to His will we understand that in His perfect timing He will put all things right.
“The LORD is king for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. LORD, thou has heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: to judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress” (Psalm 10:16-18).
Finally the psalmist leaves his prayer where it needs to be. He started in outrage, moved on and asked God to move His hand against the injustice, then rested in the assurance that the Lord will deal with the wicked. That’s where we need to be. Outraged at the evil around us, praying for God’s intervention, then prayerfully resting in the assurance that God will one day remove all wickedness.
“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:49-50).
That time is near. Once Christ’s Ekklesia has been raptured there will be unimaginable evil unleashed. When that time comes it will be much more difficult than it is now to resist wicked ways. Some will find faith in Christ, though, and will not be cast into the furnace of fire.
Until we die or are called home in the Rapture we are faced with day to day living in this world that is filled with wickedness. How do we cope? Faith in Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords. “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).
Do not waiver. Do not be led astray by the wicked thinking that God won’t see. By staying true to our faith and serving Christ we may be the example that one of these wicked men or women need to break their pride and help them come to a saving faith in Christ. We all were wicked and without hope before we found hope and life in the righteousness of Christ.
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (Colossians 1:21).
The only difference between Christians and the wicked man is the love and righteousness of Jesus Christ. We have placed our faith in Him. Satan, the god of this world, and his minions of evil will do everything possible to encourage the wicked and hide the truth from them.
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
It is a challenge to each Christian to live a life that honors our Savior. We are surrounded by wicked people, but Christ doesn’t want to leave them lost. It is up to Christians to make the Gospel known to this blind, wicked generation. Live your faith daily and share the Gospel with everyone you meet…and let God deal with the wicked.
God bless you all,