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Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
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.
The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But 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.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.
The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
The Psalmist starts with a question most of us have asked sometime in our lives, in some form. Lord, why are you standing far away? or Lord, Why are you hiding during my season of trouble?
That’s often how it feels. It is dark. We can’t see any evidence of Him. We feel totally alone. It’s an awful feeling. Fortunately, it may not be based on facts. As we read through most of this Psalm about the thoughts going through the mind of the evil person who has no desire to serve God, who lives as if there is no God, The picture this paints is not a pretty one.
But about 2/3 down into the Psalm comes a phrase that starts with “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;…”
This is where we see the contrast between the wicked person and God.
God sees what is happening. He sees all the mischief and vexation that is going on to the helpless people. He helps the fatherless and widows (and this who feel like widows.) I’m sure it includes single parent families of all kinds as they often feel helpless and alone. He promises to bring the wicked to account, particularly in the context mentioned here, as they struggle.
Once again, the Psalmist reminds us that God is our eternal King and He hears the desires of the afflicted. His silence is not due to His ignoring the needs of those who are needy, afflicted, or oppressed. He will mete out justice in His time and in His way. It will happen for sure. We just don’t know when. Their punishment is certain.
Even today, i need to remember that God is near to strengthen me. Ron has been going downhill is ways that only I am able to see.. but they are significant. We will be at least on the phone with the doctor tomorrow unless he gets an opening during the day. Then we will get in. The changes are so subtle that I do not want to spend hours in the ER with him. I need the truth of this Psalm today. My heart needs to be strengthened. I know many of you are in the very same situation.
King Jesus hears us and knows our need better than we do. We can trust Him.