Hidden God, Psalm 10

The writer of Psalm 10 wonders why God seems hidden during times of trouble. While the righteous psalmist laments a hidden God, the wicked man revels in God’s hidden face.

The psalmist opens by questioning God:

Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
    Why do you hide yourself  in times of trouble?

He asks God to cause evil men’s schemes to backfire, ensnaring them instead of the poor people they pursue:

In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
    let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised (Psalm 10:2, ESV).

As the psalmist describes the wicked man’s vile deeds and how he seems to prosper, he grieves not only the damage to people, but also the harm to God’s honor:

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” (Psalm 10:3-11. ESV).

The wicked man thinks God has hidden his face and will not see his evil deeds. He sins without remorse, believing he will never have to reveal or pay for his secret sins.

But the psalmist reminds himself and his readers that God is not hidden and no sin is hidden. God sees and judges each hidden misdeed as well as every heinous crime:

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 (Psalm 10:12-15, ESV).

God will repay trouble and grief. He is the helper of the fatherless. He will break the arm of the wicked and evil man. He will totally eradicate his wickedness.

Our sovereign God reigns. He listens to the cries of the afflicted:

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 (Psalm 10:16-18, ESV).

The Lord is king forever and ever. He causes nations to rise and fall. He hears the desire of the humble and will strengthen their trembling hearts. He will execute justice for the fatherless and oppressed so that the earthly minded man will no longer strike terror.

Even when God seems hidden and far off, even when the wicked exult in what they believe is his hidden face, he hears. And he will act. His justice will pour down on the wicked and make their schemes rebound on their own heads. They will fall into their own snares.

Because God hid his face from his son on the cross, his face will never be hidden from believers. He will rescue the righteous and judge the wicked in his perfect timing. Praise God!

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