Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Psalm About God's Apparent Indifference

In Psalm 10, we see the psalmist struggling with God's apparent indifference to the injustices that plague our world. The psalmist wastes no time in getting to his inquiry with verse 1:
"Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?"
This same question written by an anonymous psalmist 3,000 years ago is posed by many today. How many times, after tragedy strikes somewhere on the globe, do we see this question being asked by skeptics? How many times has Larry King invited a well-known preacher or evangelist on his show to "explain themselves for what their God allowed"? Society asks, "Where was God when _________ happened? If God is good, why did he allow _________ to happen?" These are important questions that deserve answers, but unfortunately, many of those who are asking them do so not out of a genuine desire to understand God's ways, but with a defiant, unbelieving attitude that is eager to use the tragedy as further excuse for them to reject the Almighty God. In essence, they are declaring, "If God existed, he would not have allowed ________ to happen".

All people throughout history have questioned God's purposes in allowing bad things to happen to "good" people (even though Romans 3 makes it clear that no one is good), and why he allows injustice. Believers and unbelievers alike ask this same question, but as we have seen, the motive behind the question is quite different. Believers, like the psalmist, ask the question out of a desire to see the establishment of God's justice on the earth, in faith that He can and will vindicate the oppressed. Non-believers ask the question out of defiant unbelief, demanding that God prove himself to them in the manner of their choosing. As we see in Psalm 10, the righteous person trusts in God's sovereignty over all situations.

I wrote up a brief outline of the Psalm to get a better idea of the psalmist's thought process:

I. Question posed (v. 1)
II. Observations made (vv. 2-11)
III. Plea for justice (vv. 12-15)
IV. Prediction of God's faithfulness (vv. 16-18)

I encourage you to read this psalm prayerfully, and note the psalmist's heart attitude toward God's actions in the midst of trouble. Take comfort in the closing verses,
"The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more."


  1. Well said. Not only are you logical in your thinking, you choose your words well. God bless you.

  2. I never question God..He is God, and who are we to question?? His Word tell us clearly enough. "All things wotk together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His promise."
    All through my life I have witnessed this. I love the Psalma, they makes King David a real person, an honest one, who sets his heart upon his sleeve. He praises God, worships God, thanks God and pleads with Him... Blessings from Oz.. I came here on Gorges recomendation.

  3. Sorry, that verse is, "according to His purpose"...Yet know I really think on it...promise is true also. Blessings.

  4. I too came here on Gorges recommendation, just like our mutual friend Crystal Mary. The Psalms are so rich, and thanks for pointing out the really important lesson in Psalm 10. Job, too, gives the same answer of course.
    I suspect you are not such an 'armchair' theologian as you say, for it is obvious you put a lot of hard work into your thinking and writing.

  5. We do not know the ending to our life story - if we did, perhaps we would never question...Regardless, God's plan is to mold us to be more like Christ, to conform us to His image - and this process of sanctification cannot happen until we embrace everything the hand of God delivers to us. It is hard, painful, and perhaps the most difficult thing about being a Christ-follower - knowing that the things that happen are not just senseless, but governed. Yet we trust in Him - He who has never failed us, who will always be faithful.


  6. Thanks for visiting Summer. You are absolutely right...God's plan is our sanctification. And if trials are what he chooses to use to accomplish that, we rejoice in the fact that he is growing us (James 1:2).