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No More Terror

"Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" Psalm 10:1-2

No More Terror

Psalm 10 is a lament and a complaint directed at God because of the suffering that is caused by "the wicked". The Psalm speaks of the man whose actions declare "there is no God." As Western Christians struggling with the rejection of many of the next generation, we are eager to seize upon this statement as a "biblical" condemnation of the attitudes of those who identify as "atheists" or "agnostic"; those who claim that they "don't believe in God." But this doesn't necessarily reflect what the Psalmist is saying. The Psalmist is not saying that those who disavow faith in God are automatically people dedicated to evil. But what he is saying is that those who practice evil act as though there is no God. There is a big difference. The complaint of the Psalmist is that sometimes the wicked seem to be able to get away with anything and everything. They take all the goods, choose the prettiest women, and kill whatever stands in their way. How can one afford to be honest or a man of peace in a culture like that?! "Arise O Lord; O God lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, 'You will not require it.'" The prayer of the Psalmist is that God would not allow wickedness to carry the day. This Psalm is a good reminder of the goodness and equatable nature of God. The supporters of Barack Obama could pray this prayer as well as the supporters of Donald Trump. In the world of western politics, we are constantly in the habit of demonizing the other side, and the fact is, we often find some level of success at doing it when a few of the many accusations stick. It is one of the curious things about human nature that very few of us would personally identify as being "the wicked" described in the text, yet we can ALL relate to the plight of the victim. How can there be so many victims with so few perpetrators? Are we willing to accept the possibility that there is a force in the world, or whatever you want to call it, a source of evil that influences and moves people to do dreadful things? Could it be that this Psalm refers not to a particular person or group of people but to personified evil? And aren't we all guilty of participation with this source of evil from time to time, sometimes more, sometimes less? I think that honesty would force us all to say "yes". Nevertheless, we don't want to be evil, which is why we identify with this prayer. We want to be rescued from evil and injustice (that can be affirmed by ALL sides of the political spectrum). Do you want to be delivered from greed and war-mongoring? Do you want to be freed from oppression and tyrannical authoritarian control? Do you want to be free from things that have been said to you, about you and against you? Do you want to be free from your own anger? We can all identify with this prayer, so pray it if you dare. "The Lord is king forever and ever; nations have perished from His land. O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror." Psalm 10:16-18

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