In the previous Psalm, David spoke with faith and conviction. In this Psalm, David speaks during a time of frustration. There is some evidence that both of these Psalms were tied together - a single acrostic poem where each stanza began with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. I like to view them as two human perspectives of the same ordeal: Psalm 9 from the perspective of faith and trust in the Lord, and Psalm 10 as one focusing on the hopelessness of the situation. Let us begin by reading Psalm 10. Once again I have organized them into four paragraphs:
Verse 1: "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.”
Verse 2: "His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret for his victims; like 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. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.”
Verse 3: "Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? 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. Break the arm of the wicked man;call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out."
Verse 4 (or chorus): "The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror."
Rather than begin with thanksgiving, David begins by complaining. Where are you God? Why are you hiding? Look, don't you see the wicked man and his schemes? The evil man boasts and appears to prosper. The evil man rejects the laws of God and seems to get away with injustice. Each of David's quotes are from the perspective of the evil-doer rather than his knowledge of God and His goodness. How often do we begin our prayers in a similar fashion?
David continues to focus his eyes on the details of the issue (rather than on the Lord) in the second verse. Look God, the evil one is speaking lies. Should we not expect those who do evil to speak untruth? In our modern culture, and especially in the political realm, we can observe many lies. Let we gain very little by focusing on those lies. Rather, we ought to focus on truth - that which is good and honorable and trustworthy and kind (Philippians 4:8). This leads David to thoughts of distrust, "God will never notice."
Finally, by the third verse, David turns to God. "Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God." I sense that David is speaking without the faith and conviction of Psalm 9. Rather than declaring that God does not forget the helpless, he says, "Do not forget the helpless." Call the evil-doer to account. One can almost sense David's focus shifting back and forth between God and the evil-doer.
Still, by verse 4 (or the Chorus), David is back on track. Finally he declares the truth! "The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from His land!" Keep you focus on God this week!