For a number of psalms (10-14), the psalmist laments the wickedness in the world. For instance, the unrighteous do not acknowledge God (10:4), plot against the powerless (10:3), are filled with pride (10:6), lurk for prey (10:8-11), speak falsehood (12:2), and flatter with a double heart (12:3). Does not this sound like much of our world? If you have lived long enough, you will know that this is true in many places of the world.
This is why the Psalmist cries out to God, “Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (10:1) He also says, “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand. Do not forget the afflicted.” (10:12)
Throughout the development of these psalms, there are a number of reminders, which encourage the psalmist. First, God does not turn a blind eye to the works of unrighteousness. He sees. “You have seen it, for you have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into your hand.” (10:14) He also hears. “O Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear.” (10:17).
For these reasons, the psalmist’s tone changes. He no longer laments exclusively. He is also filled with hope and faith. He knows that God will act. He also reports the words of God. “Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”
By psalm 14, the psalmist’s tone changes once again. In light of who God is and his justice, he writes, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” This is an appropriate conclusion. Wickedness and evil will not prevail. God’s justice will win out in the end.
There are several lessons for us.
First, suffering, affliction, and evil are realities in our world. It really takes a deliberate intention of blindness to see that this is not so. Within this context, the judgment of God is much more in keeping with reality than a liberal program where any talk of judgment is deemed embarrassing. A fallen world without judgment and justice is not good news. Second, ultimate deliverance will come in Christ. He will right all wrongs. So, the ground of the wicked is always precarious; fall is imminent – whereas the ground of the righteous is always solid. Third, God will vindicate the cause of the righteous. Hence, they need not be moved, but give themselves more heartily to the work of God. Fourth, surely there is a future dimension to all of this, but God also calls his people to stand for what is right now. Fifth, in light of the judgment of God, there is only one hope for all people – Christ. This is why Paul quotes Psalm 14 in Romans 3. What we need is a savior and we have that savior in Christ.Tags: Commentary, Judgment, justice, Psalm 10-14