Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1
I love to watch the show “Once Upon a Time.” If you’ve never seen it, it’s essentially about fairy-tale characters who have been magically thrown into a town in the “real world,” and the adventures and conflicts they have trying to find their own, respective happy endings. Every single episode, there is a conflict and resolution, and you think maybe there could be a happy ending finally, but of course that never happens: a new conflict starts and you’re left hanging til the next episode.
Even though I know this will happen every episode, a part of me always hopes the characters will have their happy ending. Deep down we all know that the good guy is supposed to win and the bad guy is supposed to lose. It’s what makes a great story!
Of course, it’s one thing when TV characters never get their happy ending – we understand that necessary evil of television – but what about when this is the story of reality? Sometimes real-life villains are the winners. Genocides, false imprisonment, rape, wrongful accusations, stolen property, bullying…every day “good guys” all around the world become victims to these crimes, without any means of receiving justice.
What does the Bible have to say about this? Actually, this is the setting of Psalm 10 – the cry of the “good guy.” Psalm 10 teaches us 4 lessons about injustice in the world.
1. It’s ok to cry out to God.
Sometimes it feels like God is far away, high up on his holy hill without a care. We can keep praying and praying for something but we receive no answer, and we wonder, “Where are you, God?”. Do you feel this way? Bring it to God.
One of the coolest things about the Bible is that it portrays raw human emotion: it doesn’t hide people’s frustration with God or anger with God. The very Word of God has verses like our devotion passage: “Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?!”. The Bible often shows humans who are confused or hurt, who are questioning God.
You know why? Because God is big enough to handle your hurts and your frustrations. So bring them to him! Cry out to God, tell him your pain. God doesn’t want perfect plastic prayer, he wants the real you, with all your raw emotion. And I promise you, he’s listening (you’ll see in point 3…)
2. Unfortunately, sometimes the bad guys come out on top.
Verses 2-11 of this Psalm depict the godless villain who is triumphing over the good guys. This bad guy even mocks the victim and says, “God has forgotten you!”. Unfortunately in our world, things like this happen all the time. The real question is, why? Why is there such evil in the world?
Well, here is the abbreviated answer (from the Bible, not from my own words): When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them freewill to choose to love, trust, and obey him, or to take matters in their own hands. When they decided to take matters into their own hands, sin entered this world. We live with the consequences of that action. We live in a world full of sin and pain. The good news is that this isn’t how the story ends.
God loves us too much to leave us in the mess we created. He sent his son to live the sinless life we were meant to live, and then die the death a sinner deserves, to pay the price of sin. We aren’t just left here to try to pick up the pieces of a broken world, God entered this world himself to direct us.
Jesus overcame the power of sin through his death and resurrection, which we can either choose to accept or reject. When we accept his offer through belief in him, we overcome sin in our own life: sin doesn’t control us anymore!
God desires that EVERYONE believe in Jesus’ payment for the sin that separates us from God! He wants every person in every country in every language to know! Which is why God still allows the world to exist as is, so that the news of Jesus can be heard everywhere. But be assured, one day Jesus will return again and God will cast out sin once and for all.
So this is the real ending: Jesus has made a way for us to triumph over sin in our own lives, he has already proven his power over the sin in the world, and he will one day bring ultimate justice by ridding our world of evil. While the “bad guys” may have their heyday now, the truth is the Good Guy has already won and will ultimately win in the end. God is the supreme author of the Happy Ending.
3. But in the meantime, God sees our pain.
So, while we continue to live in this time where God has already won, but hasn’t yet eradicated sin from the world, let’s continue to follow lesson 1: cry out to God. Because Psalm 10 tells us, “You, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”
In response to the cry of verse 1 (where are you, God?!), we learn that God is saying, “I’m right here! I see you!” The Bible gives us assurance that God, in fact, is not far from us and that he is our helper in times of trouble. He may not take you out of the troubling situation you are in (because as mentioned in point 2, unfortunately we will still face evils and troubles in this world), but he will most definitely comfort you, strengthen you, and guide you through it.
4. It’s ok to yearn for justice.
Lastly, Psalm 10 shows us that it’s not wrong to long for justice. In verses 15-16 the Psalm writer states the justice he wish would be served. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your Kingdom come.” Deep down we all have a desire for justice. That justice will never fully come until God rids our world of sin. So the best thing for us to do? Pray Jesus’ prayer, that God’s kingdom would come – not only that Jesus would return soon, but that in the meantime, sinful “bad guys” will come to believe in Jesus so that little by little evil will be overcome.
How will you live out these lessons from Psalm 10 this week?
1. Cry out to God with all your unfiltered emotion, maybe for the first time ever. Be your real self with him and tell him your hurts and confusion. God can handle the real you. Be encouraged by Psalm 10:17 “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.”
2. Pray for justice in the world. First, pray for Jesus’ return and for the eradication of all sin. But even more, pray for those who do evil. Why pray for them? Because if they were to come to know and believe in Jesus, there would be a little less evil in the world and in one small way, God’s kingdom would come here on earth.
3. Pray for an opportunity for you to bring justice to the world right now. That could mean you start supporting an organization that does justice work (such as freeing & counseling kids caught in sex trafficking), that you advocate for a bully-free school program, or something else.
4. Seek God’s encouragement and guidance as you are facing the trials that come from a sinful world. Rest in the assurance that he sees your pain and soak up the strength he gives you to face each day.
Pertaining to Point 2: Genesis 2-3; Romans 5:12; Romans 3:21-26; Colossians 2:13-15; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Acts 17:31