God’s Renewing Word of Peace and Justice
Psalm 10: In yesterday’s reading (Psalm 9), the writer expressed thanks and praise for God’s help in defeating his enemies. In today’s reading, the writer asks for God’s help against the wicked. In some traditions, the two psalms are combined as Psalm 9 inasmuch as the gratitude expressed in Psalm 9 is juxtaposed with the dismay in Psalm 10. While Psalm 10 opens with a lament about the remoteness of God, it concludes with the writer expressing trust that God hears the prayers of those who are oppressed.
A Prayer for Justice
10 Why are you so far away, O Lord?
Why do you hide yourself when we are in trouble?
2 The wicked are proud and persecute the poor;
catch them in the traps they have made.
3 The wicked are proud of their evil desires;
the greedy curse and reject the Lord.
4 The wicked do not care about the Lord;
in their pride they think that God doesn’t matter.
5 The wicked succeed in everything.
They cannot understand God’s judgments;
they sneer at their enemies.
6 They say to themselves, “We will never fail;
we will never be in trouble.”
7 Their speech is filled with curses, lies, and threats;
they are quick to speak hateful, evil words.
8 They hide themselves in the villages,
waiting to murder innocent people.
They spy on their helpless victims;
9 they wait in their hiding place like lions.
They lie in wait for the poor;
they catch them in their traps and drag them away.
10 The helpless victims lie crushed;
brute strength has defeated them.
11 The wicked say to themselves, “God doesn’t care!
He has closed his eyes and will never see me!”
12 O Lord, punish those wicked people!
Remember those who are suffering!
13 How can the wicked despise God
and say to themselves, “He will not punish me”?
14 But you do see; you take notice of trouble and suffering
and are always ready to help.
The helpless commit themselves to you;
you have always helped the needy.
15 Break the power of wicked and evil people;
punish them for the wrong they have done
until they do it no more.
16 The Lord is king forever and ever.
Those who worship other gods
will vanish from his land.
17 You will listen, O Lord, to the prayers of the lowly;
you will give them courage.
18 You will hear the cries of the oppressed and the orphans;
you will judge in their favor,
so that mortal men may cause terror no more.
Today’s Key Verse: Psalm 10:17
You will listen, O LORD, to the prayers of the lowly; you will give them courage.
How does the psalm writer describe the wicked? What does the writer ask God to do? Have you ever felt as if God were far away? If so, how did you deal with those feelings? Reread verses 16-18. What does the writer affirm about God?
Lord God, you listen to the longings of those who suffer; you hear their cries for help and offer them hope. Whenever I feel as though I am away from your presence and surrounded by injustice, draw me close to you and remind me of your steadfast love and care. Amen.
Psalm 17: The prayer of an innocent person.