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The Judgment of the Wicked - Psalm 10



As we return to the book of Psalms for another episode, I want to invite you to Psalm 10.


While no author's name is assigned to this psalm nor a title or instructions to a choir director, it is written in the style of one of David’s works. We will view the psalm as one of his musical charts for the worship of God by His people Israel.

While the time period in which this psalm was written is thousands of years old, after our study I trust that you will find that these words, feelings, thoughts, ideas, and expressions are just as applicable today as they were when they were first written. A timeless hymn that speaks of an unchangeable God is often like that. It can be voiced for any generation and still prove to be true and accurate. On the other side of the lyrics, is the lost condition of man. The wicked still seem to be prospering and devising wickedness and unbeknownst to them, God still reigns and rules over the nations and will one day be their Judge.


Before we get started with the thoughts that are prepared, let us read Psalm 10 to ready our hearts for the study:


“Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD. The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, 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 adversaries, he snorts at them. He says to himself, “I will not be moved; Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.” His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness. He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the hiding places he kills the innocent; His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate. He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair; He lurks to catch the afflicted; He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net. He crouches, he bows down, And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones. He says to himself, “God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.”
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, “You will not require it.” You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan. Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his wickedness until You find none. The LORD is King forever and ever. Nations have perished from His land. O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear, To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.”

The evils of the wicked (vs. 1-4)


“Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD. The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”

The wicked hotly pursue the afflicted


Two questions are posed about God distancing Himself in times of despair. First, “Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?” Next, “Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? God might have to turn His face away from wickedness, but He is not aloof to the sinfulness of man. It might appear that God has removed Himself and is hiding from the scene of crimes committed, evil undertakings and the scheming of the wicked, but this is simply not the case at all.


While God cannot have fellowship with those that do evil, every work performed on this earth will one day be answered for and God is fully aware of every misstep that we decide to take on this earth. He is also knowledgeable of all the unfortunate circumstances that His people have to endure in His service. Make no mistake about it. God is just as near to the afflicted and delivers His godly ones out of trouble. We need to maintain our trust in Him and not lose heart or hope.


The wicked boasts of his heart’s desire


We have seen it many times where a judge is asking a criminal if he regrets his decision to commit a murder and he smugly replies with a smile on his face that he has no remorse and is glad that he took a life. When the wicked conjure up evil thoughts and desires in their hearts and then find ways to celebrate just how impure those plans are, there is a special place in hell for such people unless they repent and return to the LORD in humility.


Boasting in wrongdoing is asking for an eternal death sentence. God will not show mercy to those who show no mercy. If we are not moved to repentance over our sins, we cannot find forgiveness. Our hearts must desire the purity of God and our only boast after we surrender to the LORD is in the cross of Jesus Christ who died for our sins. Boasting in anything else is complete foolishness.


The greedy man curses and spurns the LORD


Greed is one of the primary reasons that people cannot serve God. We spoke last time about how we cannot serve God and riches (Matthew 6:24). The reason is because we have a divided allegiance between God and our sinful pursuits, and we become enemies of God. In Ezekiel 22:12 we read,


“Among you they have taken bribes to shed blood; you have taken interest, you have injured your neighbors by oppression, and you have forgotten Me,” declares the Lord GOD.

The reason that the greedy man can never please God is because in his desire for worldly pleasure, he curses God and spurns His admonitions. You will not surrender your life to God if your only aim in life is to find as much wealth and worldly happiness as you can on earth. If you want to pursue holiness and be obedient to the LORD, only then can you be saved from your sins. In Isaiah 57:17, the book of God reveals, ““Because of the wrongful act of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart.” Greed is so powerful that it will cause us to turn away from the will of God.


The wicked, in haughtiness, does not seek the LORD


In arrogance, the wicked cannot bring themselves to acknowledge God and accept that they must obey Him in order to be saved. On the contrary, the wicked constantly think to themselves that there is no God. In Psalm 14:1, the Bible states,


“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts; There is no one who does good.”

If God doesn’t exist in your mind, then your selfish pursuit of what this world has to offer is totally acceptable and there will be no consequences for the error of your ways. Do whatever your heart desires. But if you believe this false teaching you are deceiving yourself.


I am here to tell you today, that God is real and you will one day give account to Him in judgment for all of your thoughts, words and actions in this life. Mark that down as true!


The judgment coming upon the wicked (vs. 5-11)


His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are on high, out of his sight; As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them. He says to himself, “I will not be moved; Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.” His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness. He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the hiding places he kills the innocent; His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate. He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair; He lurks to catch the afflicted; He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net. He crouches, he bows down, And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones. He says to himself, “God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.”

The wicked prosper, but will one day suffer total loss in an unforeseen judgment


While going through this life and hoarding riches for themselves, it appears that the way of the sinner must be right because they always appear to be prosperous. For the righteous this can be troublesome because we might begin to wonder if we are doing something wrong when we do not have the extensive material wealth that so many of the wicked have obtained on this earth. Yet, we are to be contented with our daily bread and know how to live with humble means. We are told that he who dies with the most toys win but notice that he still dies. In Psalm 49:11, we are reminded,


“Their inner thought is that their houses are forever and their dwelling places to all generations; They have called their lands after their own names.”

The problem is that we are completely unaware of all the sinful ways in which they have received this sordid gain. When they die, they take nothing with them to the grave. The scheming of the wicked will one day force them to fall under the wrath of Almighty God and they will have to answer to Him. But as the psalmist points out, God’s judgments are on high, out of the sight of the wicked. When your eyes only pursue this world and its riches, you fail to see God seated on the throne of His glory with Jesus at His right hand, which is a healthy spiritual reminder that we will give an account of our lives here below.


The wicked snort at their adversaries and believe they are somehow invincible


At some point the unrighteous become so comfortable with their worldly possessions and the false sense of security that they gain from these “things” that they begin to feel like they are untouchable. Notice in the text where the wicked man says to himself, “I will not be moved; Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.” Have they forgotten that we are all destined to die and after this comes the judgment? Look in the mirror from time to time, you are not getting any younger. You are aging and growing closer to the grave every day.


There are no guarantees! You are not in control of preserving your earthly life. A car accident, health issues, the attack of other wicked people on your life could snuff out your existence here and you will leave all your possessions behind and exit this world as naked as the day you arrived. The fact remains that your soul will spend eternity either in heaven with the LORD or separated from the LORD in a place of unending torment. If you are making a concerted effort to reserve a place in hell, then continue in your wicked ways. But if you can lift your eyes to heaven and see that life is more than the abundance of your possessions here, then return to the Lord before it is too late and get ready for the judgment to come.


The wicked speak curses, lies, oppression and their tongues are full of mischief and evil


Social media seems to be the way of social interactions today. These platforms offer us a place to say what is on our mind and then share it with the world. What a great tool if it is being used to the glory of God. My point here is that many reveal the pent-up wickedness in their hearts by the posts that they are willing to upload to the internet. Foul language, hate speech, lies, cheating, and so much more, floods the world wide web. The Bible warns of people that have a mouth full of cursing and bitterness in Roman 3:14.


People that we thought were followers of the LORD are found sharing are giving a thumbs up to things that clearly do not honor God. People are sharing things on their page from others before reading them to see if they fall in line with the will of God. This is our modern-day application of what we read in the text today. People sit behind their computer screens and become bold and courageous in stating their thoughts and opinions. So many are abusing these platforms instead of using them to bless others and give reverence to God.


We need to make sure that we use the time that we have been given with wisdom, using our tongues to bless and not curse, to encourage and not discourage, to praise the name of the LORD and not blaspheme His holiness. We need to fill our speech with grace and let it bless the hearers despite the way the world speaks around us.


The wicked sits and schemes to do evil


The sinner sits in the lurking places of the village. What we can take from this is to be careful where you spend your time. It has been said that just outside the city, robbers would form a camp and wait for an unsuspecting soul to pass by to feed their flocks and then they would swarm them and take their belongings. Another tactic is to set up camp and wait until nightfall and then try to break in and steal the possessions of others while they slept. Be aware of your surroundings and who you are associating with each day. We mentioned in our last lesson that we live in this world, but we do not live like the world. The first reason that you need to be careful is because you can become prey to those planning to do harm to the innocent passerby. The second reason to beware of your surroundings, is because you can get lured into joining the wicked in their evil plans. Always remember that the judgment of the LORD will come like a thief in the night and will overtake them when they least expect it. We must be ready for that day.


In the hiding places he kills the innocent. People that are wicked do not come with a label or badge that says, “I am serving Satan”. Most of the time those that do evil are going to appear just like everyone else. You must have your senses trained to decipher good and evil. Those that are unlearned or spiritually weak can easily be captured in the trap of those that want to destroy the righteous.


The eyes of the wicked stealthily watch for the unfortunate, he lurks in hiding place like a lion in his lair in order to catch the afflicted. They are just like their father, the devil, who prowls around seeking someone to devour. When you watch the nature channel and examine the tactics of lions hunting for food, they do not take off after the first one in a herd. They wait and watch to see if there is going to be an easy target to pick off. Usually near the end of the line there is a young or injured animal that cannot move as quickly or be as agile as the rest. They lion will then make easy prey of the poor creature trailing behind. This is also how the wicked operate. If your mind is not sharp in knowing the will of God and you are not dedicated to doing what the LORD has commanded you to do, you are just like that young or injured target that the wicked world will recognize and take advantage of. Before you know it, you are drawn into their net. One final detail is that the wicked do not travel alone. They work their evil plans together. It states here that the wicked crouches, bows down and the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones. They will crush and consume you if you let them have their way. God is our only refuge.


Consider David’s perspective on the words of the wicked, where the evil man says to himself, “God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.” We learned earlier how the wicked deny God, then here they try to discourage the righteous by saying that God cannot see the evils that they commit and that He will not come to the aid of His people. This is error. God is not only aware of their works, but He will judge them for each one at the last great day.


The end of the wicked before God (vs. 12-18)

“Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, “You will not require it.” You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan. Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his wickedness until You find none. The LORD is King forever and ever. Nations have perished from His land. O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear, To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.”

David asks God to arise and lift His hand to bless His people and punish the wicked


David uses two designations for the LORD, first by calling Him LORD (Yahweh) and then acknowledging Him as God. This is David’s way of showing reverence to God and recognizing His power to save the righteous from trouble, but also invokes His righteous indignation in punishing the evildoers. David says, “Do not forget the afflicted” and then follows that statement by reminding God of the foolish words of the wicked once again.


First David asks why the wicked spurn God? Then David says that the evil man says to himself, “You will not require it.” In other words, “God is nothing and we do not have to listen to Him and there will be no consequences for whatever our hearts decide to do on this earth”. They are mocking the righteous judgment of God. This type of thing happens every day and it is sad to watch just how ignorant or idiotic people can be towards God. David asks God to lift His hand against these sinners and bring His wrath upon them.


David then points out that God has seen their wickedness in order to take matters into His hands


As is customary in David’s psalms, he asks for blessings on the righteous, but pleads for a sudden end to the wicked. David says that God has beheld mischief and vexation. You have the right and the ability to do something LORD. He points out that the unfortunate soul is committed to God and that the LORD has been the helper of the orphan.


But David pleads with God to break the enemy’s bones and to continue pursuing them to ruin until there are no more unrighteous to be found. David argues that this is not so the righteous will get glory but rather that the LORD God will be honored as King forever and ever. Since God is sovereign over all things, He has every right to take these matters into His hands, blessing the righteous and destroying the evildoer. We saw this earlier in Psalm 3:7 where David asked God to smite his enemies on the cheek and shatter their teeth.


David concludes by pointing out that God can bring an end to terrorism and the wickedness of man


First, David calls upon God once again and reminds Him that nations have been wiped out by the hand of the LORD. In other words, God is powerful enough to perform His mighty work again and David trusts in God not to allow the wicked to prevail.


David then adds that God hears. He has heard the desire of the humble. Last week in our lesson in James, we talked about how God gives grace to the humble but brings to humiliation those that exalt themselves. God hears the cry of the righteous. David says that God will strengthen the hearts of the humble and that He will incline or bend His ear to hear their prayers.


Finally, David mentions the orphans and the oppressed again stating that God will vindicate them. Whatever calamity they are under because of the evil efforts of the wicked, while it might be painful now, God will deliver them, and the terrorist will meet his end in the judgment of God. In Psalm 5:10 we saw David express a similar thought when he said,


“Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You.”

We have heard a lot about terrorism in the last 20-30 years. Acts of violence that make absolutely no sense being committed against innocent bystanders. Sinful behavior being practiced by evil scheming and plotting in order to bring fear and dismay on the earth. David concludes that when people understand the pending judgment of God on these workers of iniquity and by God hearing and delivering His people that, “man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.” Unfortunately, not everyone will acknowledge God as LORD of their life. They will not come in obedience to the gospel and become a follower of Jesus. These people are wicked and instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to direct their steps, they want to continue to lurk in the darkness and follow the desires of their heart. Because of this, terror on earth will continue. The divine reassurance that we have is that one day God will bring a sudden end to those that will not repent of their wicked ways and we will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord and we will spend eternity with Him finding rest from all of our calamities here below. The earth and all the works committed here will be burned up and only those that chose to serve God in this life will experience eternal life to come. Are you ready for the judgment of God? Have you made your life right with Him?


If you have a spiritual need to obey the gospel and put on Christ in baptism, I want to hear your confession of faith as you turn away from sin and turn to the Lord. I look forward to rejoicing with you in that decision. I can also help you get in contact with a good church in your area.


If you are a Christian that has allowed the world to get to you spiritually and you have wandered or grown weak from the attacks of the enemy, look to your brothers and sister in Christ for strength and pray to God asking for forgiveness of the wrongs that need to be made right.


Please let me know how I can help.


Thank you and have a great week in service to the Lord.

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