Psalm 10 – The Cry of the Oppressed

Reading Time: 7 Minutes

The Book of Hebrews encourages us to “Approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4.16). Psalm 10 shows us how to boldly approach our gracious God.

My recommendation to you today is to first consider my notes on this powerful Psalm. Then, please open your Bible and use this Psalm as your prayer today.

You may be like me. I have mingled confession of my own sin as the oppressor in this Psalm with my prayers on behalf of the oppressed. If you have been wronged in your life, you can use this Psalm to express to God how you feel about the wrong you experienced.

Psalm 10 begins by asking God why he seems to be absent when we need him.

Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
(Psalm 10.1)

The speaker takes the role of a prosecuting attorney, who is appearing before the Most Just Judge of All. Once the evidence is completely brought before God’s court, the speaker is content to rest the case in God’s hands for judgment.

Psalm 10.2-11 – In God’s Courtroom

Verse 2In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor—
let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.

Arrogance is the root of persecution.

Verse 3 For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart,
those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord.

The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon, interpreted these verses with a quote worth giving serious thought. He wrote, “Pride meets covetousness, and compliments it as wise, thrifty and prudent.”

Verse 4 In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”;
all their thoughts are, “There is no God.”

Pride keeps a person from seeking God. Nations and people who oppress the poor and vulnerable believe that they will never be held accountable for their actions.

Proud people may say that they believe in God, but they act as if there is no God. It is hard to pray with a stiff neck and with knees that will not bend to a Greater Authority.

Verse 5Their ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of their sight;
as for their foes, they scoff at them.

I have modernized two sayings from Spurgeon whose ministry was in the mid-1800s. He wrote about this verse: “The oppressor sits upon his royal car like an idol, disregarding the person whom he crushes as he rolls along.

“A pig may sooner look through a telescope to understand the stars as this person will look into the word of God for instruction.”

Verse 6They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved;
throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.”

How many of us before 2020 imagined that a virus could kill over 210,000 Americans? How many believed that hurricanes and wild fires would devastate so much property? How many Americans are filled with the kind of pride that believes we will “not be moved” and “shall not meet adversity”?

The speaker in God’s courtroom charges the defendant with this kind of mindset.

Verse 7Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.

Notice the five words that describe speech. How often do you hear this kind of speech each day of your life? How often do you engage in such talk?

Verses 8-9 They sit in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places they murder the innocent.
Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
9 they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert;
they lurk that they may seize the poor;
they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.

The innocent, the helpless, and the poor are the target of these oppressors.

Verses 10-11They stoop, they crouch,
and the helpless fall by their might.
11 They think in their heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

They don’t openly deny God, but they don’t feel that God is relevant to their situation. By their words and actions, they oppose God and oppress the vulnerable.

Psalm 10.12-15 – An Appeal for Relief

The speaker closes the argument on behalf of the poor, vulnerable, and innocent victims of arrogant oppression.

Verses 12-13 Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
do not forget the oppressed.
13 Why do the wicked renounce God,
and say in their hearts, “You will not call us to account”?

The speaker approaches God with boldness and confidence and appeals for God to rise up and make right what is a wrong situation.

The wicked have put God’s righteousness into question. They believe that God will not hold them accountable for how they have oppressed less powerful people.

Verse 14But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief,
that you may take it into your hands;
the helpless commit themselves to you;
you have been the helper of the orphan.

God does see what is taking place in the earth. He knows how the powerful oppress the weak, whether they are nations, corporations, or individuals.

God is the helper of the orphan, who symbolizes all of the innocent, vulnerable and oppressed people.

Verse 15Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers;
seek out their wickedness until you find none.

God will break the power of the oppressor and bring hope to the oppressed.

The Prayer of Confidence – Psalm 10.16-18

Verses 16-18The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations shall perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek;
you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
18 to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that those from earth may strike terror no more.

Andrew Gray describes the hope of the vulnerable with these words, “He who sits nearest the dust sits nearest to heaven.”

Abraham boldly asked God, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Genesis 18.25). The confidence of the speaker in this Psalm is that indeed God will perfectly do what is just.

Please Pray

Please take time to make this great prayer your own by putting it into your own words. Also, if you have a prayer request, send an email to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. Maywood Baptist has a prayer team that will pray for you.

2 Comments

  1. This is one of those Psalms where, if we aren’t careful, we can do a lot of finger pointing and miss your obvious point that there are times when we are the oppressors. We are the ones with wicked schemes. We choose to put wealth and comfort above salvation and eternity.

    Thank you for this gentle reminder to remove the log from our own eye before attempting to expose the evil in others.

    I am thankful that I am not tasked with detecting who is righteous and who is not. I am thankful that my task is simply to pray for God’s righteous justice to be done in lives and hearts – and that our righteousness and His judgment is brought to us through the life of Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

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