Open your Bibles to Psalm 10. While you are doing so, I want to give you a preview of what our next year will look like at Cornerstone Church. Beginning in October, I will be starting a four week series on the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. As Francis Chan has appropriately called him, the Forgotten God. This series will begin October 4th.
In November, I will be tackling on the topic of Marriage. This will be a five week series and we will be examining marriage in the context of its purpose, its problems, and its potential. In light of this, I want to encourage all of you to be praying and inviting couples to join us in the month of November. There are so many broken and Christ-less marriages in this world, and we should not sit back and watch as their marriages fall apart. We should be doing all we can to point to the solution, Jesus Christ. This sermon series will be one way to do this.
In December we will be focusing our attention on the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in light of the Christmas Season, and then in January we will be launching perhaps our longest journey we have ever embarked upon, expositional preaching through the entire book of the Gospel of John. Hopefully this road map will give you a sense of anticipation and some guidance in how you can invite family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers in the months ahead. Today, however, we are in Psalm 10. Let us read our text, pray, and work through this Psalm together.
- Psalm 10 – “1Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. 3For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD. 4In the pride of his faceb the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” 5His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. 6He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.” 7His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. 8He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 9 he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. 11He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.” 12Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted. 13Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? 14But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless. 15Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. 16The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. 17O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”
Psalm 10 is believed to be a companion of Psalm 9. If you hold them side by side you see a lot of similarities such as the focus on the oppressed and the Kingship of the Lord. However, you also see some stark differences. For one, the two Psalms start completely differently. In Psalm 9 we see the Psalmist thanking and praising God for all that he has done, but in Psalm 10 the Psalmist begins somewhat accusatorially.
- Psalm 10:1 – “Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
And this is in a sense the essence of the Bible. God uses fallible man to proclaim His infallible Word. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 4:7.
- 2 Corinthians 4:7 – “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.“
God uses weak vessels to display his power and strength. For us today, this is what is happening in Psalm 10. The Psalmist is complaining that God is an absentee Father. He is grumbling that God is negligent in his duty to supervise the inner workings of life.
Perhaps some of you can relate to this sentiment. Perhaps some of you have found yourself in a situation where you desperately needed the Lord and you cried out to him and you felt like he was a million miles away. You desperately desire for him to make things right, change your circumstances, save the day, yet He chooses not to.
I think if we are honest, we would all agree that we have been in those situations. We have all had those moments before the Lord and we have indicted him for his apparent lack of response. As I was pondering this one Biblical example came to my mind, and it is the example found in John 11 involving the death of Lazarus. If you recall Lazarus was sick and his sister, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus and asked him to come. Instead of Jesus coming immediately to the rescue, he waited. In the meantime, Lazarus died. It was only after Lazarus’ death that Jesus went to Mary and Martha. And these were the first words out of Martha’s mouth when Jesus finally showed up.
- John 11:21 – “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Window into a Depraved Heart
So what was the Psalmist lamenting in Psalm 10? To put it simply, the Psalmist was lamenting the wickedness of man and the consequences of their actions. Verse 2, “the arrogance of the wicked.” Verse 3, “The wicked boasts.” Verse 4, “the wicked does not seek.” Verse 13, “the wicked renounce God.” Verse 15, “the wicked and evil doer.”
The word wicked in Psalm 10 is “rasha.” This word means someone who is guilty of a crime; who is hostile to God. Therefore to be wicked is to go against God’s will. Now this is an important point because many people want to redefine what is good and what is bad. We like to put lipstick on a pig, if you will. It is important to understand that the definition of wicked is anchored in the unchanging immutable God. Wickedness is defined by what God has declared to be right and wrong. Wickedness is rejecting God’s will and instead pursues their own will. You can see this in our text.
- Psalm 10:3 – “For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.”
- Matthew 15:19 - “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
Why do the wicked do this? Verses 2, 3, 4 tells us because we are arrogant, boastful, and prideful. The wicked raise themselves us and declare themselves to be gods of their own life. This was the essence of the tree in the garden that Adam and Eve ate from, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We now believe we know what is good and evil. We attempt to define those instead of letting God define what is good and evil. We make our own rules and we cast God aside believing that he doesn't see our sin, doesn't care about our sin, or doesn't even exist. Therefore we run around and do whatever our coveting hearts desire.
The Wake of the Wicked
But here is the problem. Behind the lives of the wicked is a wake of disaster. The pursuit of sinful, selfish desires comes at the expense of others.
- Psalm 10:8 - “His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. 8He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 9 he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.”
- As I was dwelling upon this Psalm this week and was trying to think of an example of this, one jumped out at me that tears at my heart. If I were to ask, who are the most innocent, who are the most helpless, who are the poorest, who are crushed, who are at the mercy of the mighty? The unborn.
Since 1973, approximately 57 million babies have been killed through abortions. To put his in perspective in World War 2 there were 400,000 American lives lost. Abortion in America 57 million. Hitler killed 6 million Jews. Abortion in America 57 million. The only thing that comes close in comparison is the Bubonic plague, which is viewed as the greatest disaster in all of human history. It killed 50 million. But it is still short of the ever climbing number of abortions in America 57 million. In America there are approximately 3,000 abortions committed every single day. 22 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion. Why?
Psalm 10 tells us. Because of sin, because of evil hearts, because of greedy and wicked hearts. Lets be honest, babies are killed so that people can drive a better car, or climb the corporate ladder, or keep having sex with whomever we want. Helpless, innocent babies are crushed so that they don't interfere with the desires of our soul, and if that wasn't enough their parts are labeled specimens and sold for $100 so that Doctors can drive better cars and drink wine over lunch. The wickedness of this makes me want to weep, and it should do the same to you. The depravity of this world should break our heart just like it broke the heart of the author of Psalm 10. And it is not just abortion, you can fill any sin in the blank, and the consequence is the same. Sin is deceptive. It promises happiness, but all it produces in the long run is sorrow.
As the psalmist stood back and took a survey of the world and witnessed the disastrous wake of the wicked, he cried out to “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?” The psalmist was mourning over the consequences of sin in this world, but as Jesus said in his great Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
How? By the end of the Psalm he had awakened to the reality of who God is. No matter how far away God may feel He is always near. No matter how many times we believe he is not watching, He is. No matter how often it appears that evil is winning, it is not. God is not an absentee Dad. He sees everything, and he keeps track of all and some day justice will reign. No matter how sinful this world gets, God is still on the throne.
- Psalm 10:16 - “The Lord is king forever and ever.”
And for everyone who has turned from their wicked ways and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior and their Lord, we should find strength for our heavy hearts in this reality. This recognition that our God reigns should produce an endurance in us that gives us the ability to run the race to the end. God may not take away the evil immediately, but we know that some day that day will come whereby we will finally enter into God's rest. Where man will not longer strike terror on the earth.
And what will happen to the arrogant, God rejecting, wicked men who pursued the passions of their greedy heart? Their wickedness will be called to account by the God who sees, and they will perish.
Call to Repent
In this room, I know we have people who have rejected God. You have spent your life living life according to your own standards. Either you believe God doesn't care about sin, or that God doesn't even exist. If that is you, I want you to consider the risk you are taking with your soul. Someday the God of the Universe is going to call your name to stand before him and everything that you did in the darkness will be brought into the light, and you will have to pay the penalty for your rebellion. The payment is eternal torment in Hell.
But I want you to know that it doesn't have to be that way. If you are breathing there is still time to get right with God. No matter how wicked you are, you can be forgiven through Jesus Christ. Today choose to turn from your self centered ways and turn to Jesus Christ. Instead of living life your way, like God's way, and rely on Jesus Christ to pay the penalty that you owe. Allow Christ to absorb the wrath of God. Trust in his life, death and resurrection, and get right with the Lord who is King before he calls you to his courts. Choose this day to follow Christ and let your heart be strengthened by the Grace of God.