Back to lamenting…but I must say this one hits a little different for me.
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[2:13] We are doing 9 and 10 together because most translations agree that in the original manuscripts, the two were combined. Psalm 10 does not have an author listed, but it does fit with 9. It seems like a completion of thought. No one mentioned why it was split by the original translators. Chronologically this is put in some time at the end of David’s life, fitting in somewhere at the end of 1 Chronicles, around chapter 21.
To me these two psalms speak to why do bad things happen to good people and why do bad people have or experience good things. Psalm 8 last week was so much about “who is man that you are mindful of him”. How could the God of the universe, the Creator of all the things think so highly of little ol’ me? Job asks can you not look at me for like 5 minutes?!? (Job 7:17-19) Keep going to see where I am going with this.
[4:01] David opens up with praise, “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart”. The NET notes on this say that this expresses David’s resolve to praise God publicly. The notes in my NIV say that when we praise God we “help ourselves by expanding our awareness of who God is” and that our praise is an outward expression of our inward attitude.
[7:03] This reminded me of the book by Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. I read it years ago, but what I remember from it is that the more I thought of what I was thankful for, what I needed to do was expand my list and get into the nitty gritty of my gratitude. If you start counting your blessings they multiply, right? I began to notice how appreciative I was of bird song and warm bread and my boys’ laughter. That’s what the footnote writer is saying about God. The more we pay attention to his attributes, the more we will see and know. Then we need to let that show, or shine if you will.
[9:49] The next stanza is David talking about his enemies and how they have fallen. It ends with “Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy”. Followed by the beginning of the next stanza starting with “The LORD reigns forever”. Do you see the difference David highlights between the two? One is overtaken, one is reigning forever. The rest of this stanza is just the most encouraging point about God. “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” (Verse 9). A stronghold is a defensible, secure position that represents a safe haven in times of unrest or distress. The LORD is that place. He is where we can go when we need help. David spent a lot of time in the stronghold. You will see that word used many times in reference to David. He ran to the stronghold many times. For him that was a physical place. It was a place he was secure and safe and because of the Psalms we know that it was a place that he called out to God. (This place were the caves in the desert. We have talked about them before. Some of them were large and could hold, like 1000 people.)
[14:04] The next phrase is what really gives me chills. Verse 10 says “those who know your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you”. Don’t you feel like shoutin’ about that? The Passion translation reads, “O Lord, you will never, no never, neglect those who come to you.” Never, no never. Knowing his name means you are a follower of His. You are loyal to Him. And most importantly, you recognize His authority. Those who look at him as David describes, the Most High, the one who ruins the enemy, the one who reigns forever are the ones who Know. His. Name. Those are the ones he will never forget, never neglect.
[18:13] Psalm 10 is the real lament part. David is like why are you standing far off not paying attention to what these wicked people are doing to me? Yet, he also acknowledges that these folks are laying their own trap. They are lulling themselves into a false sense of security and peace. The wicked say, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble” and “He won’t call me into account.” (10:6, 13). It sure seems like that sometimes, doesn’t it? Surely the true believers are the ones who should never have trouble? I deserve to always be happy. Why does my neighbor that doesn’t know God, believe in Him, go to church, do good things, volunteer for the underprivileged, send money to missions…why do they always have the best? Why does their kid always make the team? Always win the championship? Have the best car? Make more money? Have more than I do? Why does everything work out for them? While I suffer and fret and have to really work hard to make things happen and ends meet? Why do so many hurt at the hands of the despicable? Maybe you really aren’t paying attention, God.
[21:33] Yet, I know this. For those people, this earth is the best they are going to get. That fine house and perfect vacation is their only reward. Job had a hard life. Shoo. He loses everything, children, herds, flock, wife, health. He is left with nothing. He is miserable. His friends give him terrible advice saying he should just curse God and die. Job stays the course. Job remains faithful to God. And God honors him. Job ends up with more than he ever had. He is restored. Now, that does not negate the hardship he had to endure. It doesn’t replace what he lost. But it is beauty from ashes. The hard is redeemed.
[38:41] “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
Friends, hard is going to come. Remember where…remember who the Stronghold is. He will never, no never neglect you.