“1 Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 12 Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. 17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.”
During the summer I was looking for a washer for the pedestal of a kitchen tap. As you do, we went to a local branch of a national DIY store and of course couldn’t find a member of staff to help us with our problem. Just when you look for someone knowledgeable they all seem to be on the phone talking to someone else or busy in the stores and safely out of sight. In the same vein why does it seem to us that just when we need his help most the Lord never seems to be around?
The verses above come from Psalm 10 and are those I think which mark the various turning points of the psalm. After opening with a most dramatic and in some senses shocking thought, which few of us would be bold enough to utter but all secretly think, at least sometimes, the psalmist complains about the activities of the wicked man before he comes to the point in verse ten where he calls on God to step in and bring justice.
Most of us have a keenly developed sense of justice and that is especially true when it concerns our own welfare. “That’s not fair” is among the first phrases we learn, and indeed, the world often seems to be an unfair place. Those who don’t care anything for God or others seem to have everything their own way. Unscrupulous people never seem to have a care, crime appears to pay quite handsomely, and cheaters more often than not end up winning. Who hasn’t felt like that at some point?
Some people see this psalm and the one before it as being two parts of the same psalm and in that psalm the author affirms that the Lord has established a throne for judgement. The world, despite appearances, is a moral place and our sense of justice comes about because we are made in the image of a moral and just God. It is that God who in the end defends the weak and the disadvantaged.