Scripture reading – Psalm 10


The author of Psalm 10 is not identified, nor are we given the historical context of the psalm. The subject of the psalm, however, is evident, for the focus is the pride and oppressive nature of the wicked.

I want to invite you to consider two portraits of man found in Psalm 10. The first was that of the wicked (10:2-11), and the second was a portrayal of the righteous and their appeal to the LORD (10:1, 12-16).

The Perplexity of the Righteous (Psalm 10:1)

Facing a foe, the psalmist felt the LORD had abandoned him to the evil intentions of wicked men. He questioned,Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble [anguish; distress; adversity]?” (10:1) Knowing his enemy purposed to hurt and destroy him, the psalmist despaired and complained he felt the LORD was far from him in his hour of need.

The Wicked: Their Character and Conduct of the (Psalm 10:2-11, 13-14)

The Will of the Wicked (Psalm 10:2-4)

Psalm 10 vividly portrays the character and determination of the wicked. They are described as arrogant and oppressors of the poor and needy (10:2). They are boasters and glory in their sinful lusts, passions, and desires (10:3). The wicked praise that which the LORD abhors (10:3). They are proud and “will not seek [follow] after God,” for He is far from their thoughts (10:4).


The Way of the Wicked (Psalm 10:5)

The ways of the wicked “are always grievous” (10:5). They are insensitive to the grievous nature of their sin (10:5). They are deceived, and they defraud the naive with their platitudes and lofty promises. They do not fear God, for they are blind to His judgments (10:5). The wicked are the enemies of God, though He might “puffeth at them” and blow them away (10:5).

The Words of the Wicked (10:6-7)

Lifted with pride, the wicked boast, “I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity [distress; harm; injured]” (10:6). He is foolish and believes he is too big, or too strong, to be brought to justice (10:6). The wicked threatens all who oppose him (10:7). He swears, and “his mouth is full of cursing.” He insults, and his tongue is venomous, full of “mischief and vanity” (10:7).

The Wiles of the Wicked (10:8-11)

Like lions stalking their prey, the wicked lurk about and lie in wait, hoping to catch the poor, the innocent, and spiritual stragglers unaware (10:8-10). With one fierce swipe, they seek to crush the righteous. (The portrayal in Psalm 10 is of a physical attack; however, the implication might also be intimidation, slander, or lawsuits that can crush and destroy.)

A wicked man is spiritually deluded, and like the fool that he is, “He hath said in his heart [mind; will], God hath forgotten [ignored]: he [the LORD] hideth [conceals] his face; he will never see [behold; perceive] it” (10:11).

The Plea of the Righteous to the LORD (10:12-18)

The psalmist prayed to the LORD, “Let them [the wicked] be taken [captured; seized] in the devices [inventions; plots] that they have imagined [devised; conceived]” (10:2). Having described the character and ways of the wicked (10:2-11), the psalmist remembered that the LORD is Just (10:12), and Omniscient (10:13-14). Though the wicked boast and have contempt for God (10:13), the LORD is the Defender of the poor and the Helper of the fatherless (10:14). He can break the arms of evil men (10:15).

Closing thoughts:

The psalmist began Psalm 10 complaining that the LORD seemed distant when the wicked were troubling him. However, Psalm 10 concluded victorious, with the psalmist taking comfort knowing the LORD would exact justice and the heathen would perish (10:16). Though the wicked persecuted the poor (10:2-3), the psalmist was confident the LORD heard and would answer the prayers of the humble (10:17).

You might be tempted to despair when justice is slow, but you can be sure that the LORD is on the side of the righteous and that He is a righteous Judge (10:18).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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