Psalm 10: Break the Arm of the Evildoer

The Psalmist begins with an accusation:

Why, O LORD, do you stand afar off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

Psalm 10:1

These are strong words, but I’ve been there. Have you ever felt as if God has hidden Himself in the moment of your trouble? Have you ever felt as if God was absent from your life right when you needed Him the most?

I have. And it’s surprising to me how little you hear this kind of thing in our churches, yet such expressions are found at every turn in the Scriptures. This is one of the reasons I continue to believe — the honest and raw testimony of the holy Scriptures.

It should also be noted that this in no way makes the accusation true. I take in these words in much the same way I read the wisdom of Job’s friends: expressing a degree of truth, but also colored by erroneous understandings. It’s not that God was actually hiding Himself in times of trouble; it’s just that the Psalmist feels this in the present moment of his writing.

The Psalmist then turns his attention to the wicked. For this reason, some have suggested that Psalm 9 and 10 should be read as a single unit. According to Psalm 10, the wicked believes there is no God; or if there is a God, it is possible to hide certain behaviors from His sight. The wicked curses and deceives. He exploits the poor and preys upon the helpless. And the Psalmist has had it up to HERE.

After considering all of this, the Psalmist returns to the Lord.

Arise, O LORD, O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.

Psalm 10:12

He implores God to act on behalf of the afflicted and the oppressed. If there is a connection back to Psalm 9, it seems fair to summarize this statement thusly: “We know that you sit enthroned forever (Psalm 9:7) but when will you get up? Will the cause of the afflicted cause you to rise?”

Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer, call his wickedness to account till you find none.

Psalm 10:15

After turning to the LORD once again, the Psalmist has a unique request: break the arm of the evildoer. This may sound like vengeance, but in the context of the Psalm, it is a plea for justice. “For the needy shall not always be forgotten,” (Psalm 9:18).

This entry was posted in Culture, Disappointment, Faith, God, Hope, Kingdom Values, Psalms, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

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