Psalm 10:1-11 – Is This The Portrait of a 21st Century Politician?

RNC debatePsalm 10:1-11 – “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
2  The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
3  For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
4  The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
5  His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.
6  He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.
7  His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
8  He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.
9  He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net.
10  He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
11  He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.”

DNCPerhaps it is the constant barrage of media coverage, political rants, broken promises and primary debates that paints today’s psalm as the perfect portrait of the majority of politicians and office holders in our day.  Make no mistake; the wicked and their evil ways (lies, deceptions and oppressions) are the curse of this nation and sadly, our leaders epitomize who we have become.

David opens Psalm 10 with a plea for the LORD to intervene and save him from the plots and plans of his enemy.  The king asks two questions:

Psalm 10:1 – “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble [anguish; distress; adversity]?”

In the hour of his crisis, David wondered why God was slow to intervene on his behalf.  The LORD seemed far away and the wicked prospered, but the righteous felt abandoned by the God they loved.  Wrestling with his lack of faith and despairing, David made his case concerning the character of the wicked, his heart, ungodly ways, deceitful words and fraudulent manner.  With the exception of my amplification of a few words, I will allow the scriptures to paint the portrait of the wicked in what I believe is an apt description of the majority of leaders and politicians in our communities, cities and nation’s capital.

Psalm 10:2 – “The wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] in his pride [arrogance; haughtiness] doth persecute [pursue; chase] the poor [lowly; afflicted; needy; weak]: let them be taken [captured; taken hold; seized] in the devices [inventions; plots] that they have imagined [devised; purposed; conceived].”oppress the poor

1. Motivated by his pride and arrogance, the wicked are oppressors of the poor and needy (10:2a).   Realizing the design of the wicked was to “persecute” the unfortunate, David prays they would fall victim to their plots and plans.

Psalm 10:3 – “For the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] boasteth [praise; glory; celebrates] of his heart’s desire [longing; satisfaction], and blesseth [salute; praise] the covetous [greedy], whom the LORD abhorreth [despise; rejects].” 

2. The wicked are proud and, contrary to their promises and courtship of the poor, are driven by carnal desires and lusts (10:3a).

3. The wicked praise the covetous and greedy souls the LORD abhors (10:3b).

Psalm 10:4 – “The wicked, through the pride [arrogance] of his countenance [face; anger], will not seek [ask; follow; search] after God: God is not in all his thoughts [plan; purpose].

4. Lifted up with pride, the wicked rejects the revelations and knowledge of God, neither seeking nor following Him (10:4a).  The wicked refuses to consider or ponder the divine’s person, plan or purpose (10:4b).

Psalm 10:5 – “His ways [journey; road; course of life] are always grievous [travail; twist; writhe in pain]; thy judgments [manner; sentence] are far above [lofty; elevated] out of his sight: as for all his enemies [distress; adversary], he puffeth [scoff; to kindle; set aflame] at them.

5. The ways of the wicked are “grievous” and, regardless the platitudes of hope they might raise with lofty promises, they care nothing for others and perpetuate their wicked aspirations on the grief and sorrows of those less fortunate (10:5a).

6. Spiritual blindness is the affliction of the wicked that refuse to see or believe the judgments of God will come to pass (10:5b).

arrogance7. The wicked “puffeth” at their adversaries; dominated by pride, they scoff and sneer at those who oppose their plans and devices (10:5c).

Psalm 10:6 – “He hath said [answered] in his heart [mind; understanding], I shall not be moved [removed; carried; fall down]: for I shall never [never ever] be in adversity [distress; harm; injured].

8. The wicked boasts “in his heart” he is too big, too wise, too powerful to fail (10:6a); he foolishly asserts he will never suffer the consequences of his sin or be brought to justice (10:6b).

Psalm 10:7 – “His mouth [speech] is full of cursing [oaths; swearing] and deceit [false; guile; treachery] and fraud [oppression; cutting]: under his tongue [language] is mischief [trouble; sorrow; wickedness] and vanity [iniquity; sin].

9. The wicked are arrogant and their speech threatens those who oppose them (“full of cursing”); they are deceivers, liars and thieves (“fraud”); their tongues, like a venomous serpent, strike those who oppose them inflicting trouble and sorrows (10:7).

fundraisingPsalm 10:8 – “He sitteth [dwells; inhabits] in the lurking places [ambush; lying in wait] of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder [slay; kill] the innocent [guiltless; blameless]: his eyes are privily set [covered] against the poor [poor; unfortunate].”  [i.e. he lacks a charitable heart]

10. The simple and naïve fall victim to the wicked who lie in ambush (“lurking places”), plotting and planning to entrap innocent souls to destroy them (10:8a).

11. The wicked are uncharitable and mean-spirited (10:8b); often courting the favor of the poor and needy without regard for their misfortune.

Psalm 10:9-10 – “He lieth in wait [ambush] secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait [ambush] to catch [seize; ] the poor: he doth catch the poor [depressed; afflicted; needy], when he draweth [draw out; drag; seize] him into his net [used in catching beasts]. 10  He croucheth [crushed; break], and humbleth [bow down; cast down] himself, that the poor [entrenche in poverty] may fall by his strong ones [might; i.e. swipe of powerful paws; ].”

crouching lionLike a lion waiting to attack the straggler and weakest of a herd or flock, the wicked draw the weak, poor, and elderly into their net with promises that entrap, enslave, and ultimately crush their spirit and life (10:9-10).

Psalm 10:11 – “He hath said in his heart [mind; will], God hath forgotten [oblivious; ignored]: he hideth [conceals] his face; he will never see [look; behold; perceive] it.”

12. The wicked dismiss the very thought of God’s justice (10:11a).  An evil man beguiles his own soul, foolishly telling himself God is oblivious to his sin and will fail to exercise vengeance (10:11b).

Many reading this devotion share this pastor’s concern for the direction of our nation and its future.  Polls show American citizens have little respect for those in leadership and our low regard for our leaders is symptomatic of a people who have promoted and entrusted men and women with wicked character.  We would be wise to consider the spiritual character and moral bearing of those running for the highest office of our nation.  I close with two insightful proverbs:

Psalm 12:8 – “The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.”

Proverbs 29:2 – “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith