April 19 – Devotion Sharing (Psalm 10)

Submitted by John K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Psalm 10 (NIV84)

1Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?

Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

During difficult times it seems that God is far away.  It seems like God is not acting on the situation and he’s not intervening and he’s not “helping”.  He seems like he’s hiding.  As I think about why this sentiment seems to be true it’s because the situation is not resolved or solved right away.  Often, like a hero would come to the rescue to a crisis situation I think about how I want God to come to my rescue and save me from some painful situation I’m in.  It can be situations in which I’m struggling with my own sins of anger, impatience, irritability, lack of love or some conflict with my wife and I wish it would just get resolved and go away.  Even when it’s some difficult or painful situation that maybe out of my control I want God to save me from it.  As I read through this whole psalm I see that this is sort of where this psalm goes.  From the beginning it’s like God has left us but Psalm, actually God does hear my cries.

Lord, I confess that at times I do feel this way – that you would just come and rescue me from painful situations.  I wish you would take away relational pain or difficulties but Lord, I see that you’re not hiding but actually this is a special time for me to cling onto you.  It’s a time that I can actually cry out to you and see how helpless I am and how I can only find my strength and hope in you.  Lord, help me not to despair or be discouraged but trust you and keep crying out to you.

2In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,

who are caught in the schemes he devises.

3He boasts of the cravings of his heart;

he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.

4In his pride the wicked does not seek him;

in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

This passage reveals to me that at the core of the wicked is a proud heart because he does not seek God and he has no room for God.  The wicked have no room for others because of the cravings of his own heart.  He’s only focused and thinking of himself. It’s his own greed that squeezes out any connection with God.   This passage shows again that I cannot serve both God and money.  I cannot serve God with a greedy heart.  I acknowledge that the desires of this world can squeeze out my heart.  I’m faced with so many comforts in this world that many people in the world just don’t have – a home, two cars, a good job, a college degree, etc. I make good money and have a wonderful family and yet all these good things–the very blessings that God has given to me–can be the things that do me in and turn me from God if I don’t properly acknowledge their place in my life, under God’s complete lordship.

These are the areas that I can be most tempted to take “pride” in and become self-focused.  And there is the warning for my own life–giving into the comforts and desires of this world by letting them squeeze out my life – time, money, energy – is going to drive me away from God.

Lord, I confess that I know these areas can be tempting for me to just focus on my family or my job or just the blessings you have given to me, but I pray I would not let these things become idols in my life or let them steal my heart.  Lord, I see how these can squeeze my heart out…help me Lord to not let these things steal my heart but instead invest in the people you have given to me to love.

5His ways are always prosperous;

he is haughty and your laws are far from him;

he sneers at all his enemies.

6He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me;

I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.”

As I reflect on this passage, I see the folly of the wicked.  It is the belief that they know for certain how things will be.  They know that nothing will shake him.  How can he be certain?  But as I think about my own life I think this challenges my own notions of what can/cannot happen in my life or in the lives of others. Do I believe that some situations will not change?  Maybe I think that people won’t change.  I have fallen into this thinking before and as a result I was saying that I know better and I know how God works and that he can’t work in this situation.  Whenever I lose hope or believe I know how things will turn out, I’m challenging God’s sovereignty and authority in my life.

Lord, help me not be so certain and sure by thinking I know how everything will turn out

7His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats;

trouble and evil are under his tongue.

8He lies in wait near the villages;

from ambush he murders the innocent,

watching in secret for his victims.

9He lies in wait like a lion in cover;

he lies in wait to catch the helpless;

This is how Satan operates, preying on the weak, the young ones, those who are the least able to defend for themselves.

Lord you are putting it on my heart to pray right now for those who have just made decisions.  Again I marvel at how over 40+ people made decisions to be Christ-followers during the Passion Week in all our churches.  And I’m overwhelmed as I think about these precious brothers and sisters and yet I realize that the environment they are in is a hostile one in which Satan is trying to do all he can with lies and threats.  And so I know one way I need to care for others is through interceding on their behalf.  Specifically, I’m thinking of the three guys who made decisions in my life group.  I know that Satan is going to actively try to discourage them and try to bring them down.

Lord, I pray for my new brothers in Christ that you would help them not to give into their pride and even let Satan cast doubts about their decisions.  I pray you would help them to stand firm and be convicted that this is the right and true decision they needed to make.  Lord, please protect them from Satan’s lies and deceptive ways.

God, as they know that they are sinners, I pray that you would help them not fall for the lies of Satan that tell them that they don’t need to follow God and they do not need to think about their sins.  But as you have convicted them of their sins, I pray that you would help them to see how much they actually do need you.  I pray their sense of sinfulness would grow and that they would see their need for you even more.  Please protect them as they take these new steps as your followers.  Lord, you know the battles they’re going to face so I just pray you would protect them!

 he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

10His victims are crushed, they collapse;

they fall under his strength.

11He says to himself, “God has forgotten;

he covers his face and never sees.”

12Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.

Do not forget the helpless.

Up until this point in the psalm, there is a downward progression and it seems as though the wicked have the upper hand and they are the ones who are about to win but then the psalmist doesn’t give up hope and calls on the name of the Lord, like a great hero to the rescue.

And this is the truth of how I need to live and how I need keep pressing on and not giving up on God or people in any circumstance.  As I confessed earlier about how I can become discouraged, this passage shows how God is in control and how my role is to call out and cry out to God.  He will hear my cry.  He has the power.

Lord, you have the power!  Maranatha – come lord and save us!

13Why does the wicked man revile God?

Why does he say to himself,

“He won’t call me to account”?

14But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;

you consider it to take it in hand.

The victim commits himself to you;

you are the helper of the fatherless.

15Break the arm of the wicked and evil man;

call him to account for his wickedness

that would not be found out.

16The Lord is King for ever and ever;

the nations will perish from his land.

17You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;

you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

18defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

What kind of God do I have?  He helps the fatherless. He becomes the father to the fatherless.  He takes it upon himself to be the great benefactor for others.  To the weak, to those who don’t have anyone to defend them or care for them, God comes onto the scene and cares for them. He comes and hears their cries and says he will defend them.  He will come to help them.  He will encourage them.

As God heard the cry of the Israelites so he will hear my cry.  God will hear the cries of my heart to be saved and rescued from my circumstances and my situations.  Whether it’s relational issues with people who are close to me or it’s trying to repent for my own sins and my own since issues of anger, lack of love, Lord I know you can save me.  Whom else can I turn to?  I think this passage shows me that you will hear my cry and you will save me.  You do not leave me in my sins but you come to save and rescue.  Thank you that you are my Heavenly Father!  Thank you that you look upon me with eyes of mercy and see how sin has afflicted me and how I need your encouragement and help.

Submitted by Suzanne S. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Psalm 10

·     What does this Psalm teach me about God? 

It teaches me that the Lord is King forever and ever. That he is not a God who doesn’t care and is standing far off looking at all the wicked prosper. It teaches me that he listens to the cry of the afflicted, fatherless, and oppressed and encourages and hears them. It teaches me that God gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud like it says in 1 Peter. This encourages me to be in a place of need rather than comfort so that I can be someone who can cry out to God like this psalmist rather than not seeking him because of my own pride. Being in the position of ministering to others has been a great source of blessing for me because as I help others struggle with sin, I see myself more clearly and I definitely feel my own personal neediness as well as the oppression that sin causes.  This really causes me to cry out to God to hear my prayer rather than being proud and saying “nothing will ever shake me.”

·     What exhortations, lessons, or warnings do I need to heed?

4In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

6He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.”

However, the warning that I need to heed is that I need to be very careful of my pride. The warning is that pride is what makes a mere mortal man not seek God. Pride is what crowds out my need for God. Pride is straight from hell and is the beginning of someone’s downfall. The moment that I think, “nothing will shake me, I will always be happy and never have trouble” is the end of me. The moment that all my thoughts crowd out the room for God to speak, that in my self- reliance, I crowd out a desperate need for God–then my pride has won and I’m no different than these wicked men who go on and on without desperately seeking out God. They have made something else the KING in their lives. They have made themselves, their thoughts, their illusions the King in their own lives. This pride is so deeply engrained in all of us, in me.  I need to be warned and heed this lesson because I think in my daily course of action I can so easily allow all my worries, concerns, my to-do list crowd out my real desperate need for God. I cannot seek God in my own pride that thinks that I know what I’m doing.

·     What truths can I affirm, or what promises can I claim from this Psalm?  

17You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

The promise that I can hold onto is that God hears my cries. He hears the cries of others. He listens, he encourages, and defends the fatherless and oppressed. The truth or promise that I can affirm is that God does see all the things that go on and that he is just. He is the sovereign God in whom I can place total trust because of this very fact that he knows all. I don’t know all the information about a situation, I don’t know all the facts about different people but God knows and I can trust in him. Also, the truth that God cares for those who are afflicted is an amazing truth. I think this reveals to me that I have a God who looks at the humble and contrite and really cares.

·     Who can I intercede for based on these words?

They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!   We will be free of trouble forever!”

13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God?  They think, “God will never call us to account.”

I can intercede for the very people in my life who I know have this kind of attitude. They feel like their lives will be free of trouble and nothing bad will happen to them. Currently, there are some people I’m ministering to and thinking about who think following God is more trouble than not following God. Part of my heart is so burdened for people like this. They think God will never call them to account. They think their lives will be fine as they follow the ways of the world and don’t have to follow the cost of discipleship. This burdens my heart the most because although they heard the message of Jesus, they are deceived by the things of the world and don’t live with the ultimate eternal reality that God sees all that is going on. That in this psalm, what stands out for me is that God is not far off, he is not blind, he sees everything that is happening and one day there will be a day of accounting. This eternal truth brings everything to focus for me. I recognize that it’s foolish to live life without answering these kinds of ultimate questions of what is going to happen after I die, that this world doesn’t hold all the answers to the questions on my heart. I need to intercede for those who are saying with a proud heart that everything will be ok while ignoring God their whole lives. It is in their pride that they don’t seek out God and think there is no God that God is dead when in reality, the truth is that he is the true King. I need to intercede for these people before life takes a toll on them and they are way too proud to seek God. At least with those I’m ministering to right now, they are still young and perhaps will turn during their troubles while they are young before they harden their hearts with the practicality of life.

Submitted by Jesse K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Psalm 10 (NLT)

O Lord, why do you stand so far away? 

Why do you hide when I am in trouble? 

The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor. 

Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others. 

For they brag about their evil desires; 

they praise the greedy and curse the Lord. 

The wicked are too proud to seek God. 

They seem to think that God is dead. 

Yet they succeed in everything they do.

God, at times it seems like you’re so far away.  It feels like you’re not at work.  This feeling was very acute when our medical mission team went to work with special needs children in a third world country. The society as a whole and even the government is paralyzed with fear.  Those in power refuse to help.  But you want to help these children.  You want to save their lives. Please strengthen them as they undoubtedly feel hopelessness at times.

They do not see your punishment awaiting them. 

They sneer at all their enemies. 

They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us! 

We will be free of trouble forever!” 

Such unfounded pride–thinking that they are invincible and that they can dodge the consequences of their lives. But the fact is that you are real.  And whether or not people see that their lives and their sins have consequences, they will ultimately have to give an account for their lives before you.  God, I confess that this same pride I see in myself–the pride that blinds me to your gaze on my life.  Every time I decide to give into my selfishness; every time I see somebody in need and, instead of helping them, decide to preserve myself; every time that I let my pride ramp up, I’m telling you, “Nothing bad will ever happen to me…I’ll be free of trouble forever.”  Forgive me for such unfounded thoughts.  I realize that it’s pure pride that makes it so that there is no room for God.

Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.

Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues. 

They lurk in ambush in the villages, 

waiting to murder innocent people. 

They are always searching for helpless victims. 

Like lions crouched in hiding, 

they wait to pounce on the helpless. 

Like hunters they capture the helpless 

and drag them away in nets. 

10 Their helpless victims are crushed; 

they fall beneath the strength of the wicked. 

11 The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us! 

He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!” 

12 Arise, O Lord! 

Punish the wicked, O God! 

Do not ignore the helpless! 

13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God? 

They think, “God will never call us to account.”

14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause. 

You take note of it and punish them. 

The helpless put their trust in you. 

You defend the orphans. 

God, thank you that you are a God who defends the orphans.  Thank you for being one whom the helpless can put their trust in.  Because many times, especially as I see the “wicked” get away with despising you, things can feel helpless.  As I see college students who have completely bought into the party scene, as I see precious souls being starved with different addictions, I feel helpless.  But you see the trouble and the grief that the society and the college culture causes, and you take note of it.  Save the helpless from those who say, “God isn’t watching us!”

15 Break the arms of these wicked, evil people! 

Go after them until the last one is destroyed. 

16 The Lord is king forever and ever! 

The godless nations will vanish from the land. 

17 Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. 

Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. 

18 You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, 

so mere people can no longer terrify them. 

You will bring justice to the orphans and oppressed.  Everybody will have to answer for their lives, and ultimately you will set things right. You are king forever and ever and with your power you comfort those helpless victims of the wicked.  God, I long for that day when everything will be set right.  When sin will no longer have its effect on people.  And though through your blood, I’ve already been given forgiveness and salvation from my sins, in this world, I still experience the constant battle inside of me between my old sinful nature and the new nature you’ve given me as your son. So I look forward to heaven when things will be set right and I won’t have to struggle with sin inside of me.  I look forward to that day when you will bring justice to those who have been suffering to further Your kingdom.  God I pray for them, that again, you would bring comfort and justice as they persevere doing your kingdom work.

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