“Why, O LORD, do You stand afar off?” The writer of this psalm was going through a difficult time and he could not find God. His way of addressing this great need was to talk to the Lord—perhaps even to sing to Him.
He wrote about those he called “the wicked.” Arrogant and powerful people were abusing the poor. They imagined that God did not even exist, and that they could go after other people without any fear that the Lord would defend the needy.
The psalmist’s lament was that these powerful bullies seemed to be winning all the time. Was God there? Would he stop evil people? This sorrowful worshiper called upon the Almighty to catch troublemakers in their own schemes.
The description of the evil man recorded here was quite vivid. As we read or sing this psalm we are granted insight into the inner thought life of someone who imagined that everyone else in the world existed for his pleasure. He would use them and throw them away if he wanted to. Though he could easily have looked around and observed that even the powerful die, he comforted himself with these absurd words: “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
This evil enemy was always scheming. He had a plan to take advantage of some bystander who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Would such a dishonest and murderous man be able to get away with his sin, never facing the consequences of of his wickedness? Would he be correct in his guiding assumption that even God could not stop him?
The psalmist then turned to words of true faith. “But You do see.” He called out to the Lord who would certainly help the fatherless. He asked the God of Israel to call the wicked man to account for all his evil deeds.
By the end of the psalm the Lord of glory seemed near again. As those who sing these words even today we remember what we believe. Jesus, our Redeemer, is king over all. He will separate the wicked from the righteous. He will strengthen our hearts forever, and the man who is “of the earth” will never again terrorize the Lord’s people.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O Lord God, please continue to draw near to us in every time of trouble. We thank You for the righteousness and goodness of Christ. He was moved by our desperate condition and He came to save us. He did what no one else could ever do. He rescued us in the saving protection of the good news and brought us home by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Purify our hearts, moving us closer and closer to Your Son, and then send us forth in works of love and service for the glory of Your Name. Thank You for Your great mercy, eternal King. You hear our cry, and You help us.