Why Does He Stand Far Off

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
    Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1

In the previous Psalm, David was rejoicing over the fact that God was always around. Now, though, he questions that. Or does he?

It’s standard human emotion, to rejoice one minute and to become very pessimistic the next. It can not be all joy, and it cannot be all gloom and despair. Unfortunately when we’re in the down state, it seems like it will last forever because time goes so slow and we hear nothing from Heaven.

It is precisely these times where we must – not should – turn to Christ. Waiting until we turn a corner is not a good idea. Letting the Lord help us turn that corner is always the best solution for it is in those depths we discover the greatness of God. We, like David, can question the silence too, but our experience has shown us that there is comfort and peace even in the silence.

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Invincible and Unstoppable

The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
    their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.
The Lord is known by his acts of justice;
    the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
    all the nations that forget God.
But God will never forget the needy;
    the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
    let the nations be judged in your presence.
Strike them with terror, Lord;
    let the nations know they are only mortal. Psalm 9:15-20

The imagery displayed in these verses is vivid. On one hand many nations – meaning the rulers and their governments – believe they are invincible and unstoppable. They rise to power and fortune on the hard labors of the poor, and then pretend they champion the cause of the poor. They certainly don’t understand justice for if they did, there would be far less corruption, graft, and deceit. We echo David: let the nations know they are only mortal.

Pray for your government today. No matter where you live, there is bound to be corruption and greed throughout administrations. At best there is a thirst for power that generally goes unsatisfied.

Pray that your government will realize their mortality, especially in regards to the poor. The less they humanize their programs, the more corrupt the programs tend to be. Corruption, kickbacks, and graft will destroy a nation just it destroyed much of Detroit.

Pray also that media will do what they’ve said their mission has always been: to speak truth to power, to ask the tough questions, and to report all the facts.

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He Remembers

Sing the praises of the Lord, enthroned in Zion;
    proclaim among the nations what he has done.
For he who avenges blood remembers;
    he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

Lord, see how my enemies persecute me!
    Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death,
that I may declare your praises
    in the gates of Daughter Zion,
    and there rejoice in your salvation. Psalm 9:11-14

The lesson today is close to what we’ve been talking about the last week or so but it’s pointed out clearly in verse 12: for he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.

Those tear-filled, lonely nights, he remembers.
Those dark moments when you felt like the whole world was coming against you, he remembers.
Your friends in far off lands who have been under intense scrutiny and persecution, he remembers.
Those lonely night when you’ve just wanted to up and quit, he remembers.

If there’s one thing you can say about the Lord as you read the Bible, it’s this: He has a special place in his heart for the afflicted.

(And we might even argue that when life is going great is when we need to call out to him the most since it’s easy to become complacent and self-sufficient.)

But when you’re at your lowest low, after the bottom has completely dropped out of your life, He will be right there with you.

He won’t forsake you in your hour of need. Then you will be able to say, like David, “I will declare your praises and will rejoice in your salvation.”

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The Lord Reigns Forever

The Lord reigns forever;
    he has established his throne for judgment.
He rules the world in righteousness
    and judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:7-10

The earth and its inhabitants may come and go but
the Lord reigns forever.

Nations will crumble, and others will rise to take their place but
The Lord reigns forever.

Riches and fame come; riches and fame go but
The Lord reigns forever.

Good looks and glamor are fleeting but
The Lord reigns forever.

Leaders will exalt themselves only to be destroyed by their own egos and corruption but
The Lord reigns forever.

Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

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He Knows Justice

My enemies turn back;
    they stumble and perish before you.
For you have upheld my right and my cause,
    sitting enthroned as the righteous judge.
You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
    you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
    you have uprooted their cities;
    even the memory of them has perished. Psalm 9:3-6

One of the themes that runs throughout the Old Testament is that of justice. In particular God had a “soft spot” towards the poor, widow, and the alien, and a high price would be paid if those classes were mistreated. Also scattered throughout the Old Testament is a similar theme: protecting the righteous and destroying the wicked. In this Psalm David is showing the contrast.

I don’t think I can say it enough because we all tend to forget what Scripture has to say about judgment and justice. The bottom line is this: there will come a day soon where justice will be meted out fairly. Those who think that what they do will go unnoticed in this world are sadly mistaken.

Similarly those who think there really is no justice in the world are also mistaken.

There is a God and there will be a judgment as certain as I’m writing this. He sees your pain and suffering at the hands of cruel people. You can trust Him. He knows justice.

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