READ: Psalm 10-11
BACKGROUND: Both of these Psalms contain classic Old Testament portrayals of the wicked that are painted as prideful and disdainful of God as they oppress the righteous. They are calls upon God’s holiness and justice and love for his people – calls for him to take action.
10:5 – It seems as though the wicked prosper in their wickedness, and the Psalmist is calling upon God to right this wrong.
7 – Curses, lies, & threats are the 3 most common weapons of the tongue in the experience of ancient Israel. The prevailing worldview in Ancient Near Eastern cultures was that pronouncing curses upon individuals brought down the power of the gods against them.
14-18 – Every Psalm of lament in the entire book – with the exception of Psalm 88 –contains a confident statement of trust in God’s holiness, justice, love, or provision.
11:1 – David demonstrates an unshakable trust in God’s sovereignty even in a time when it seems the wicked were prospering.
3 – David observes that the foundations of the culture and the world order seem to be crumbling before evil forces.
4-7 – Our hope in dark times is that God is still on his throne and ultimately in control.
It’s not just a number. It’s a symbol. Of America, of history, of our national pastime, of the breaking of racial barriers, of superhuman achievement. It’s the most important number in sports history. Or at least it was.
From 1954-1976 Hammerin’ Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs, shattering Babe Ruth’s all-time record of 714. Aaron withstood a great deal of pressure, hatred, oppression, and racism as he pursued the record, but handled himself with incredible class and grace throughout his career. He earned his place among the pantheon of American sports heroes. A decade after Aaron’s retirement a young outfielder named Barry Bonds hit the big leagues. Bonds was a preternaturally gifted player and an amazing hitter in his own right. He would have easily gone down alongside Aaron as one of the best to ever play. Then he cheated. He used illegal steroids to boost his strength and his performance. And in 2001 – after never even hitting 50 home runs in a season in his career and averaging less than 40 per year – he hit 73 of them in a single season. And he went on to eventually break Hank Aaron’s record. I don’t know how many home runs he hit. Nobody really does. Nobody really cares because it wasn’t fair. He got to be the all-time home run king by cheating.
Sometimes in life it gets really frustrating to watch people cheat their way to the top, but it happens in every area of our lives – in business, in schools, in sports. And it’s especially frustrating, when we’re trying hard to do the right thing, to watch as people who are brazenly doing wrong gain popularity and acclaim and “success.” This is what the Psalmist struggled with – watching wicked people prosper and flaunt their wickedness in the face of God and his people.
But, like the Psalmist, we can be confident that God is in control. No matter what happens and no matter how things appear at the present time, eventually every knee will bow before him and God will judge people for their actions and bring justice. Though we may not experience an immediate sense of justice in this broken world – we can be confident along with the Psalmist (and the prophets in the Old and New Testaments) that God will one day bring justice and that our faithfulness will be blessed as we seek to be the people he created and designed us to be.
ASK: Do I sometimes get frustrated because I feel like people who are doing wrong are prospering at my expense? Do I trust that God will ultimately bless those who follow after him?