Psalm 10 TALK : A PRAYER FOR GOD TO HELP US FACE WICKED OPPOSITION

PSALM 10

A PRAYER FOR GOD TO HELP US FACE WICKED OPPOSITION

(JUDGEMENT FOR THOSE WHO OPPOSE GOD AND HIS TRUE FOLLOWERS)

 (THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

 INTRODUCTION

 In Psalm 9, David speaks of the victories he had over the enemies that surrounded Israel, like the Philistines who attacked him seeking to beat him and the God he followed. Now, we think, David turns to the enemies of God within Israel. These enemies of God, as we will see from the Psalm are far more insidious and difficult to deal with. Satan has done more damage to the credibility of the Christian Gospel from the false witness of the Church than any other source.

David throughout his reign had to deal with not just the enemies outside of Israel but also God’s enemies within it as well and so do we. May I recommend you read the great C.S Lewis book, “Screwtape Letters, which spell out in a humorous way how Satan attacks the faith and witness of Christians by his workings within the hearts and lives of people within the Church. Many non -Christians I have met over the years have told me they do not believe the message of the Church because of some unloving or even evil acts of someone they met once knew who claimed they were Christians. This of course is not an excuse God will accept on the day of judgment but equally, if a Christian had caused another to stumble in their possible coming to faith in Christ then they too will face God in judgment as Jesus teaches us in passages like Matthew 18: 5 – 9.

The description of the evil people, David gives us in the first 11 verses of Psalm 9, fit more non- believers today outside of the church and I believe we are now living in a time when opposition to God and his followers has escalated and generally speaking believers are now considered dangerous narrow- minded fools who need to be put down.

David’s way of dealing with those who oppose God within Israel was to present this problem to God in prayer and Psalm 10 is in fact a prayer for God to help him face and deal with the wicked opposition to God within Israel. I hope through this study we to will know more about how God will deal with wicked opposition to him and how we are to find help in our conflict with this world and the devil.

This prayer has three parts:

  1. THE PROBLEM:  A PLEA TO GOD TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO OPPOSE GOD AND HIS PEOPLE (1 – 11)

 

  1. THE REQUEST:     A PRAYER TO GOD FOR HIM TO ACT AND DEAL WITH THOSE WHO OPPOSE GOD AND HIS     PEOPLE (12,13&15)

 

  1. THE ANSWER: A PROCLAMATION THAT GOD HAS HEARD AND WILL JUDGE THOSE WHO OPPOSE GOD AND HIS PEOPLE (14 & 16 – 18)

 

  1. THE PROBLEM: A PLEA TO GOD TO DEAL WITH THOSE WHO OPPOSE GOD AND HIS PEOPLE (1 – 11)

 David starts this prayer of Psalm 10 with a desperate,

“Why, O Lord do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”

These words might seem to indicate that David’s faith in God is doubting God’s very existence or at least he is doubting God’s active involvement in this world. We have seen and will see in the Psalms that David was not afraid to speak from the heart exactly how he felt and saw things. His honesty and candor usually is very refreshing.

David is describing his very real reaction to a very real problem spelt out in verse 2,

“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devices”.

You just have to watch the 6.30 current affairs programs on commercial TV each night to see many examples of this problem in our society today. It is not usually the wealthy and well-educated people who get stung by unscrupulous con men who devise some clever plan to rip off often not so well- off victims of their life savings and dignity.

When you watch this daily parade of wickedness you to might be tempted to ask,

“Why, Oh Lord do you stand far off?” or as I have heard it said,

“Where is God and why doesn’t he do something about these wicked injustices?

We will come to an answer to these questions later in the Psalm but for now verses 3 to 11 describe what these wicked men are like and also what motivates them.

David describes these wicked men in 6 ways which I will now set down and pinpoint their motivation for why they are like this:

  1. They are proud

In verses 2 and 3 we see that these men have no humility as they are full of themselves and we will see this comes from the fact that they have no fear or respect for God as verse 4 says,

“In all his thoughts, there is no room for God”.

  1. They are boastful

Verse 4 again tells us these people who oppose God and his faithful followers are motivated by no fear or respect for God these they boast of their wrong doings. So many people are like this today and they not only do not believe in God but they mock the very idea of him and boastabout their unbelief as well.

  1. Self -Confident

 In verses 5 and 6 we learn that they are motivated by their false confidence that no one canstand in their way including God, they have a false sense of confidence,

”He boastsof the cravings of his heart”vs. 3

and verse 5,

“He is haughty and your laws arefar him”

and verse 6,

“He says to himself, ‘nothing will shake me; I’ll will always be happy and never have trouble”

  1. Blasphemous and Deceitful

In verse 7 they are motivated by such unfounded self- confidence and out of control self- interest causes these men’s speech is full of blasphemous curses and lies,

“His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue”.

  1. Treacherous

In verses 8 to 10 these final 4 verses of this section David uses picture images that describe not only what these men are like but how they operate. The first picture image is of a highwayman who waits in hiding for he defenseless victims that describe the treachery and deceit these men operate like in David’s Society.

Verse 8, “He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush, he murders the innocent; His eyes watch in secret for his victims”.

 This kind of person preying on the poor and unfortunate in Israel’s society is spoken about in many times to come by the prophets. The prophet Amos speaks of this kind of activity in Amos 2: verses 6 and 7:

“This is what the Lord says: “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed”.

  1. No respect for God

In verses 9 to 11 we have the second picture image of a lion hunting down a weak and helpless victim. Lions like many animals of prey seek out the weak and sickly animals as these are the ones they can overcome easily. This image reveals the ultimate motivation and cause of this type of persons actions.

Verses 9 – 10, “Like a lion in cover he lies in wait.

He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10 His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.

Verse 11 says,

He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.”

These evil men either act like God does not exist or like God is not interested in what they are doing and turns a blind eye to their blasphemous and cruel actions.

Jesus gives us a telling picture of this kind of living, the kind of living that does not consider God and the frailty of human life in Luke 12: 16 – 21,

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Such are these men David sees within the boundaries of his country and he is the King yet he feels powerless to stop them. So, it is today our Governments legislate laws to stop all kinds of selfish and evil actions, but does it stop?

I feel that laws often only effect those who seek to obey them but those who they are directed to either ignore them or find ways of getting around them. When I was an employment counselor many years ago I had a client, I asked if he had a car license. He said “no” and he recently lost it for more years and would not be eligible for one unto 2050, some forty- five years in the future and this man was in his late forties anyway. He told me he intended to still keep driving as he had no chance of ever having a legal license in the future.

The answer to this type of attitude is much deeper than a person being afraid of some kind of law. The problem is a much deeper spiritual problem of rebellion which we call sin. It is the attitude of the mind governed by the position and condition of our heart that drives us. Paul goes to great length in the early chapters of Romans to argue the uselessness of the law to deal with sin.

Paul’s answer to the sin problem is well stated in Romans 3: 21 – 24:

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus”.

  1. THE REQUEST: A PRAYER TO GOD FOR HIM TO ACT AND DEAL WITH THOSE WHO OPPOSE GOD AND HIS PEOPLE (12,13&15)

So, David has now stated very clearly the problem he is aware of and he now continues his prayer with a request for God to act and deal with those who oppose him and his people.

He calls on God to break from his inaction. It reads like God has been asleep and David wants him to wake up,

“Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God”, verse 12.

God never sleeps as Psalm 121 verse 3 says,

“He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber (or sleep)”.

David’s request in these verses is of course poetic language for God to act in judgment right now and stop these wicked men and their evil actions in their tracks.

Why dose God allow wickedness to continue in this world?

I think the best answer to this is found in the writings of Peter, in 2 Peter 3: 9,

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.

This verse comes in the context of Peter speaking about the final judgment day when Christ returns. One speaker I heard many years ago put it something like this, “if you want God to deal with sin and evil in the world are you prepared for him to deal with you”. God’s final dealing with sin and evil means simply no more opportunities to find forgiveness for sin as the final judgment has come.

However, there are examples of God judging people in this life and many evil doers come unstuck as they face the consequences of their sinful actions.

David goes on to ask a pertinent question in verse 13,

“Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself,” He won’t call me to account”?

The answer is simple God will bring the wicked to account which David speaks of himself in verse 15,

“Break the arm of the wicked man: call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out”.

The wicked seemingly getting away with evil acts against God’s faithful people is yet another test of God’s faithful people faith and by faith we must trust what David says at the end of verse 14 that God is the helper of the fatherless or the seemingly weak of this world.

Peter speaks of the test of faith in 1 Peter 1: 6 – 9,

“In all 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 the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.

 So, as I have already quoted David completes his prayer for those who are suffering at the hands of the wicked which would include himself with an Old Testament style request for God’s judgment to come on the wicked who oppose God and his seemingly weak faithful followers in verse 15,

“Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out.”

 I believe Jesus would want us to show love to the wicked and pray for them rather than pray for their judgment which will come if they don’t turn and accept the love and forgiveness they can only find in The Lord Jesus.

I get this idea from the many instructions Jesus gave on this like Matthew 5: 43 – 48,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbourand hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. 

  1. THE ANSWER: A PROCLAMATION THAT GOD HAS HEARD AND WILL JUDGE THOSE WHO OPPOSE GOD AND HIS PEOPLE (14 & 16 – 18)

As David states the problem and prayers the prayer, God answers him and the last section of this Psalm is that answer from God.

David finds the answer to his prayer in a renewed realization of who he is praying to. David is directing his prayer to,

“The Lord (who) is King for ever and ever”, verse 16.

You see the God David believes in is The Lord, the King of Heaven and earth and he knows that this supreme God is a God who has promised to bring Judgment to the Nations of this world, as he states in the second half of verse 16,

“The Nations will perish from his land”

 The theme of The Kingship of God runs right through the entire book of Psalms and I believe is the central concept to understand them. We have learnt from Psalm 2 that David was “The Lords Anointed King” and as taught in Psalm 2, those who oppose him oppose God.

Psalm 2 verse’s 5 and 6 speak of God’s judgment on those who oppose God and his anointed King,

“Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill”.

 David goes on in that Psalm to speak of a greater king then himself to come who he describes as,

“You are my Son; today I have become your father”. Verse 7

We know, as Christians that David is speaking prophetically of The Lord Jesus Christ, who was declared at his baptism as “God’s Son” and therefore he is this great King of Kings who David goes on to say in Psalm 2: 7, will.

“Make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession”.

 And verse 8, “You will rule them with an iron scepter, you will dash them to pieces like pottery”.

 This of course is what Jesus is speaking about in John 5: 22 – 23,

“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him”.

 David answers this question in verse 14 and the last two verses, verses 17 and 18

Verse 14,

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless”.

Then verses 17 and 18,

“You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror”.

This stands in complete contrast to the belief of the sinners David set down in verses 11,

“He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.”

God never forgets and God always sees and therefore the wicked sinners of this world are in big trouble. Over and over again the Psalms and the teaching of the prophets clearly state how God does care for the under privileged of this world. Which David calls twice the fatherless and also the afflicted in verse 17.

We see something similar in Psalm 140 verse 12,

“I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy”.

And in the prophets like Isaiah 41: 17,

“The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; theirtongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them”.

Even Jesus had much to say about this as well like Luke 6: 20 – 21,

“Blessed are you who are poor, foryours is the kingdom of God.Blessed are you who hunger now, foryou will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, foryou will laugh”.

 Poverty in this world comes in many forms and many of us feel we often miss out because we are so poorly connected compared to many other people who are well known and socially or politically wealthy. However, we need not worry if we are in Christ because we are connected to the most glorious and powerful person in the universe, namely the God of heaven and earth.

I once had two Mormon missionaries visit my house and requested to come in and prayer for me that I might receive a blessing from God. I said I did not need their prayer of blessing and quoted Ephesians 1: 3,

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”.

 We might not have much in this world, materially but spiritually and in the life to come we are rich.

God sees everything, after all he is all knowing and all seeing and not only does he see evil men exploiting the poor and persecuting his true followers but he sees and feels deeply for those who a being persecuted.

This Psalm has been dealing another great theme of the Psalms, “The Songs and poems of the Kingdom” namely the opposition of the followers of the true King of God.

As Jesus said John 15: 20,

“Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”.

This is one of the reasons why all of the New Testament writers, Paul, Peter, James and John spoke of some kind of suffering and a reality for all Christians. The direct and often painful rejection and persecution of unbelievers is a direct result of our connection to the true King of God who is being rejected by them.

There is another side to this problem, which should fill us with hope. I did not quote the full verse of John 15: 20 and those words read,

“If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also”.

Yes, there are those who will reject the Gospel message (Jesus teaching) but there will be those who God will work in to receive that message and as Jesus says in Matthew 10: 40,

“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me”.

We must be all “poor in spirit” for as we realize and admit our true state before God, “poor and wretched” we are able to hear and receive the life- giving message of the Gospel into our hearts and lives. As Jesus said in Matthew 5: 3,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

David’s last verse of Psalm 10 which remember was originally one large acrostic Psalm of Psalm 9 and 10 is a summary of all he has been saying and praying, verse 18,

“Defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror”.

We must always remember that the total cessation of spiritual conflict will not happen unto the Lord Jesus returns and the final judgment has taken place. Up to this final judgment there will be ongoing spiritual conflict but because Jesus defeated sin, death and Devil on the cross these pre-total judgment conflicts are always useless attempts by the Devil and those who oppose God to win back what they lost in Christ great victory over them on the cross.

As we see in a passage like Colossians 2: 13 – 15,

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made youalive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”.

CONCLUSION

So, we come to the end of this wonderful Psalm 10, which is a prayer, with a statement of the problem needed for this prayer. David saw and no doubt faced, unbelievers prospering at the expense of the poor and believing people and they seemed to get away with it as they bragged and boasted of their wickedness.

It moves into the actual prayer request, which is for God to act and judge these evil doers giving them what they deserve and in doing so liberate the oppressed.

It ends with a realization that God has heard this prayer request and that those who oppose God, his King and his true followers are under God’s judgment and God not only sees the wicked actions of the unbelievers but also sees and will come to aid of those who are poor and oppressed in this world.

Finally, we have seen that even though this Psalm is teaching us that we will face difficulty in this life as we are persecuted for following the true King of God, namely The Lord Jesus Christ, our witness and teaching and preaching of the Gospel message will lead some of the Godless we face to faith in the true King of God, namely The Lord Jesus Christ.

Let me close with Paul’s prayer request to the Ephesians concerning his desire to preach the Gospel of Christ even as he was in prison for preaching that same Gospel. Ephesians 6: 19 – 20,

“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should”

PART 2.

3 NEW TESTAMENT INSIGHTS

  1. HOW GOD USES DIFFICULTIES AND PERSECUTION IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (2 Corinthians 12: 7- 10)

Some times when we face great difficulties and enemies in this life we should pray to God about these things and God answer seems to be either no or yes or even wait. Paul speaks about this in chapter 12 of 2 Corinthians verses 7 – 10.

This the famous passage of scripture often called “The thorn in the flesh” and Paul refers to this prayer after he experienced a miraculous vision of heaven. He then speaks of a problem or difficulty God gave him to keep him humble and reliant on God.

Many have speculated what this, “thorn in the flesh” actually was. Unfortunately, we simply do not know what it actually was but this does not stop us understanding what it meant for Paul and what it means to us.

Paul found the problem he had a very real painful experience and even suggests that Satan used it in his daily struggle of faith in Christ when he calls it,

“a messenger of Satan”.

Interestingly later in this passage Paul relates this kind of problem to,

“Weaknesses, insults, hardships and persecution”(verse 10).

So, Paul pleads with God in prayer three times for God to take it away from him but each time God’s answer is no. And then Paul realizes that God is telling him,

 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”verse 8.

This leads Paul to say that all Christians should see difficulty and persecution as a “delight” verse 10,

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong”.

In Psalm 10 we read a prayer of David for God to deal with wicked and oppressive men who attacked and ripped off the poor who trusted and believed in God. David eventually realized that God would deal with these wicked Godless men.

Why do we face great opposition in this world and sometimes feel those who oppose God and his people are getting away with it?

One of the reasons for this is that God is even using this difficulty and persecution to help us. As Paul says at the end of the 2 Corinthian passage,

”When I am weak, then I am strong” (verse 10)

 Problems and even persecution in this life force us to trust even harder in God and this is because, like Paul, in the face of painful trials we are humbled and are more- ready to turn to God in our weaknesses.

  1. THE REALITY OF THE CERTAIN JUDGMENT TO COME (ACTS 17: 29 – 31)

 In Psalm 10 David prays for God to act in Judgment upon the wicked he saw in his day. We to will be tempted to want to pray the same way when we see wicked men and women seemingly getting away with wickedness and even boasting about it as well.

When Paul preached his famous sermon in Athens he brought it to and end with a word about the certain Judgment to come. He speaks of the idol worship that was all around him in Athens by saying:

“Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone – an image made by man’s design and skill” (verse 29)

 All false religion or beliefs reduces God to some kind of false image or idea fashioned from the imagination of a wicked fallen mind.

People today might not have some kind of idol but whatever they put in the place of the true God of the bible is in the end another from of idol worship.

Paul then explains why this kind of false belief has been allowed by God to continue and he declares what God wants us to do about it now.

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but he commands all people everywhere to repent” (verse 30)

 What has changed for God to not overlook idol worship any more? Of course, the

answer is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and his dying on the cross for our sins. Which makes a way for us back to God and demands we repent and put our faith in him.

The opportunity to do this is not finite as Paul states in the final verse of our passage, verse 31,

“For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead”.

 Paul is telling us here that there will be a great day of judgment when the opportunity to repent will be over. His clear proof for this judgment day to come is the reality of Christ’s resurrection something many people just cannot accept. Interestingly even people in Paul’s day had problem with the concept of the resurrection as the next verse says, verse 32,

“When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject”.

 It is interesting that the two great stumbling blocks for people believing in Jesus and the Christian gospel is the incarnation and resurrection. This is because they are so unique and unnatural. However, our God, we believe created what is natural so why can’t he change or alter that if he wants?

Finally, the certainty of the final Day of Judgment to come should have 3 effects on us.

  1. Encourage us when we see people sinning and seeming to get away with it.

As David realized at the end of his prayer in Psalm 10, no one will get away with sinful action as God one day will judge everyone with total justice.

  1. Spur us on to proclaim the Gospel message.

The Greek word for Gospel means “Good News” and the Good news is that there is a way to be made right with God and avoid the judgment the consequence of our sins. This forgiveness did not come cheaply to God as it cost him his only Son being sacrificed on the cross for our sins. The certainty of the coming judgment should spur us on to proclaim the Good News message of finding complete and utter forgiveness from God through Christ.

  1. Cause us to live more Godly lives.

All of the New Testament writers refer to this concept knowledge of the coming day of judgment causing us to live a more holy life. I like Peters words on this as they are so clear and telling in 2 Peter 3: 10 – 13,

 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed it’s coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness”.

  1. WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE TO THE POOR  (JAMES 2: 1 – 13)

 David speaks a lot about the oppression of the poor and how God cares for and loves the poor. This is a concept throughout the bible and is one teaching from it that is grossly overlooked. The power and charisma of rich and powerful people seems to overwhelm the Christian church of every age.

My first real experience of this was when I was a young teenage Christian. I regularly attended night church in those days along with my many Christian friends. One night, just as the church service started a number of large leather jacketed men walked into our church and sat down together. Many loud whispers could be heard throughout the church, saying things like, “what are these “bikies” doing in our church”, some even feared they would run off with the plate when it came around, they didn’t of course and put money in the plate when it came around. Just two of us plucked up the nerve to speak to these fearsome looking characters and to our delight we discovered they were members of the Christian motorcycle club called “God’s Angels”. A few years later I went to Bible College with one of the founders of this group and he shared with me that they often got the cold shoulder from normal church goers when they visited churches. He was a man who devoted his life to ministry to the poor and outcast of our society and I often think The Lord Jesus himself had a similar reputation when he walked this earth.

James also has a bit to say about this as well and I will now let him tell us what he has to say about the poor of this world.

James 2: 1 – 13,

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment”.

 I would like to highlight three things from this passage.

  1. The danger of showing favouritism

James starts this passage by pointing out the danger of showing favoritism. The Christian church should not be just for those who are rich and influential. Not that people who are rich and influential should be made unwelcome as they are part of the Kingdom of God as well. However, showing attention to only those who are rich and influential at the expense of those who are poor and not so influential is wrong and anti Christian.

  1. God chooses the poor of this world

The reason that favoritism for the rich and influential is wrong is simply because it is out of step with God. God, James tells us actually chooses those who are poor in this world. The poor are chosen because they can best show the riches of faith in God. They reveal best the great mercy and love of God.

  1. The royal law of “love your neighbor as yourself

How can we avoid the sin of showing favoritism? James answer to this question is what he calls The Royal law which he states is, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. In the church or Christian community, we should treat everyone the same and in fact what this means is we should treat everyone the same way we want others to treat us.

 TWO APPLICATIONS

  1. How we should act when we are persecuted

 Psalm 10 and the verses and passages it has led us to has taught us a lot of things about how we should face those who persecute us.

  • Realize that persecution is part and parcel of following God through Christ (If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also”).
  • Realize that there is a day of Judgment coming and those who defy God

and persecute those who follow him will one day face certain judgment.

  • Realize that the best approach to facing those who persecute us is to pray for them,

(Love your enemiesand pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven).

  1. How should we act towards those who are less well off then us

Psalm 10 and the verses and passages it has led us to has taught us a lot of things about how we should act towards those who are less off than us.

  • Realize that God loves and cares for the poor of this world and so should we.
  • Realize that we should not show favoritism to others in the church of God.
  • Realize we should be governed by the royal law which is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.

I’d like to share in this study some more wise words from the book of James, James 1: 27,

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”.

As usual I will conclude this Psalm talk with an original poem inspired by my study of the Psalm and a final word of prayer.

THE XYZ OF GOD’S JUDGEMENT

(Based on Psalm 10 and follows the alphabet Psalm style from Psalm 9)

 

Longing to see you Lord

When you seem so far away

When wickedness fills this world

I long for your judgment day.

 

Many claim there is no God

They curse and swear at the sky

They’re proud of the evil they do

But one day they all will die.

 

Nothing can stop the judgement day

Many live as though they can

But death comes to every man

Before God they cannot stand.

 

Open mouths curse the Lord

They reject God on his throne.

Thinking they are all alone

In judgment their sins are known.

 

Poverty reigns in this world

For the wicked exploit the poor

But those who know God’s great love

Will be rich and given more.

 

Question the strength of a man

Even though it seems we’re beat

There end in judgement is clear

They’re fall and bow at God’s feet.

 

Under the power of this world

God’s people seem trodden down

And it seems God doesn’t care

But in Christ we will wear a crown.

 

Victory to those who trust in God

For the wicked will go down.

Trapped by their own evil deeds

They will forever be put down.

 

Wipe clean my eyes O Lord

Let me see your grace and power

You help those who need you most

You love them each day and hour.

 

Xray my heart O Lord

See the sin I have in me

Cleanse me as we all need your cleansing

Through your Son’s shed blood we are free.

 

You O Lord are the king

Ruler over everything

Those who worship other God’s

Will be stripped of everything.

 

Zoom in on your people Lord

Encourage them with your word

Many are afflicted Lord

But I know their prayers are heard.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER

 Father in heaven we pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith even now as we pray. We pray that they will remain strong and faithful in their suffering.

We pray that those who persecute your people will somehow come to realise that they are under your great Judgment. Help us to be people of love and mercy by showing this in the way in which we care for those less fortunate than ourselves. Help us all to realise that one day you are going to judge the world and therefore everyone who remains bent on not turning to you will face eternal punishment. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.